Critiquing Apple’s new ‘Get a Mac’ ads

Last night’s “Emmy awards… served as the launching pad for three new Apple ‘Get a Mac’ ads, starring hip young actor Justin Long as a Mac and stodgy-before-his-time actor John Hodgman as a PC. As is my wont, I’ll try to review them, mostly from the mundane standpoint of PC-versus-Mac accuracy,” Harry McCracken writes for PC World.

Accident” – Apple’s Mac OS X isn’t just safer than a Windows PC, portable Macs themselves are safer, too:

McCracken writes, “Seems a little oblique, unless you’ve ever damaged a notebook or its power brick in the way referenced by the ad. But MagSafe is indeed a wonderful innovation, although as someone who uses a MagSafe-equipped Mac and a non-MagSafe-equipped PC notebook.”

MacDailyNews Take: The ad’s purpose is not really to promote MagSafe. The ad’s purpose it to imply that Apple thinks about the details with Macs, as opposed to how the details are treated by Windows PC box assemblers and their main operating system maker.

Angel/Devil” – Windows PC fights inner demon upon being presented an iPhoto book created on a Mac:

McCracken writes, “This is one of a number of “Get a Mac” ads whose point seems to boil down to A) Macs all come with the iLife suite, while PCS have no standard creativity tools beyond Windows XP’s skimpy offerings; and/or B) the vaguer, less defensible idea that PCs are just plain terrible for doing anything that isn’t boring. For the record, iLife is a dandy product which continues to be ripped off by almost every competitor on the PC side. But Snapfish, Shutterfuly, and umpteen other free services let PCs create nice photo books. And judged in terms of sheer volume, PC users have far more fun tools to choose from than Mac users do.”

MacDailyNews Take: This ad is one of the weakest in Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign. However, we must point out the far weaker (because it’s just plain wrong) argument offered by McCraken (and often other Windows PC advocates), “PC users have far more fun tools to choose from than Mac users do.”

First of all, the amount of tools is meaningless when Mac users have the same or better quality choices. For example, and with made-up numbers to illustrate the point: a choice of 15 photo management options vs. a choice of 3 photo management options is meaningless when the Mac has the best three from which to choose. Same goes for Word Procesors and any other category of software.

Second, in case McCracken hasn’t heard, Macs can run Windows applications, too. Windows PCs can’t run Mac apps. Therefore Apple Mac users have the ability to run largest software library on earth, not Windows PC users. Windows PC users in reality “have less tools to choose from than Mac users do” in every single software category.

Also, did McCraken miss the part where the PC’s devilish side said, “Oh, fun, we tried that once, it was nothing but pain and frustration.” The truth in that statement will resonate with Windows sufferers.

Trust Mac” – Windows PC tries disguise in attempt to evade spyware and viruses. Mac doesn’t need to do anything:

McCracken writes, “Another riff on a major point in favor of the Mac platform–the fact that it’s nearly free of viruses and spyware… Even in a world of slightly more OS X security worries than before, that’s still a huge argument in favor of the Mac and against Windows XP. If I were marketing Macs, I’d continue to hammer away at it.”

MacDailyNews Take: Some of these Windows PC users just cling to the incorrect notion that Mac OS X has been affected by viruses and spyware. Or they can’t wrap their minds around the truth. Fact: Mac OS X is virus and spyware-free.

Full article here.

Related articles:
Apple debuts three new ‘Get a Mac’ ads – August 27, 2006
Microsoft’s Windows is inherently more vulnerable to severe malware than Apple’s Mac OS X – August 23, 2006
Symantec researcher: At this time, there are no file-infecting viruses that can infect Mac OS X – July 13, 2006
Apple: ‘Get a Mac. Say ‘Buh-Bye’ to viruses’ – June 01, 2006

52 Comments

  1. Not only are the ads condescending half truths, they are direct challenges to the social misfits that enjoy developing malware.

    MAKE NO MISTAKE.

    THE MAC IS J U S T AS V U L N E R A B L E as the PC.

    There is a “myth” that the market share doesn’t play a roll on this website. This could not be further from the truth. Market share plays a big roll in why the Mac has remained relatively free from viruses and spyware.

    When a malicious programer sits down to develop his crap, he is numerically speaking FAR MORE LIKELY to be sitting down at a PC to do so. He learned on a PC, he continues to use a PC, and he knows he’s got a target that includes over 90% of the machines on the Internet.

    He’s not likely to be sitting down at an iBook. It’s just a fact.

    This we all hope, ironically enough, is changing. We want to see Apple gain market share. As Apple gains market share it will come under closer scrutiny by the freaks that write malware and sooner or later a serious hack is going to appear.

    Even NOW it is not hard to write a freaking Apple Script that destroys data, and users WILL give the system the password necessary to do so. You know they will. They’re all very accustomed to supplying their system passwords on demand.

    If you don’t think the Mac is vulnerable to at least a trojan, you’re nuts.

    So Apple’s smug ads are nothing more than a call to arms on for hackers.

  2. The reason that this series of Mac ads is going to be phenomenally successful is that Hodgman’s skill in portraying the PC character is very alluring. This actor is good. Real good. He’s managing to sympathetically characterize a diminished-status PC by comfortably appealing to humorous aspects of the human condition which are universally understood by everyone. The guy is great. This whole ads series is going to be extremely effective.

  3. The new Mac ads are eliteist. When the ‘nerd’ guy talks about the malware etc., the least the ‘cool’ guy could do is ask how much in time and money, all that ad-on stuff costs.

  4. Call to arms or not, all I know is that Mac OS X has been out for over 5 years now, and there have been absolutely ZERO viruses or pieces of spyware for it out in the wild. Give us a call when an OS X user out in the real world is ever truly impacted by a piece of malware ok? Thanks.

  5. Thelonious,

    Actually, malware writers probably use Linux or Unix. I’m sure they have Windows boxes to test on, but not as their personal systems for everyday use. They are ubergeeks. They like feeling superior, and nothing gives them that feeling more than using a command line interface that 99% of the world doesn’t understand. Plus, they know the damage their software can cause, so they would want a system that is inherently more secure.

    That’s right, the Mac is not “as vulnerable as a PC” because the system architecture is inherently more secure. That’s not saying malware and viruses are impossible on a Mac, but much more difficult to develop.

    A great many of the servers that host websites, DNS, etc. are Unix, as is OSX. If a virus writer really wanted to maximize his or her damage, Unix would be the ideal target.

  6. I have been using Mac’s ever since they came out

    Never bought a PC ever. I only got one, ONE virus in over 20 years of using Mac’s.

    What virus was it? The WDEF disk virus about 18 years ago.

    Since then I’ve allowed the bad guys a go at my box, a few have made it in over the years, but it wasn’t easy for them. I’ve learned to stay off wireless and bluetooth, not that they are insecure, but to stop all the numskulls from trying and annoying me with their attempts.

  7. I defy any non Mac user to get anything out of these commercials. These commercials and all the others seem to want to “inform” the viewer in some esoteric way.

    Not one of these or any other Apple commercial will make a PC user want to find out more about a Mac. Why? Because they don’t say anything to intrigue a PC user. They really are geared to Mac users already. And why does Apple feel the need to market to Mac users? Now that’s the 100,000 question?

    Show the friggin computers Apple. To convert PC folks, you have to show it to them. Simple. That may intrigue them to go into an Apple store instead of Best Buy for a new cheap box. In order to see an Apple computer the average PC user has to make an effort to get to an Apple store. These spots do not compel them to do this in any way.

    Wasteful advertising. Apple is just too clever by half!

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