How Apple translated its ‘Get a Mac’ ads for overseas markets

“When Apple wanted to bring its series of ‘Mac vs. PC’ ads to international markets, it faced a difficult issue: What’s funny in one culture can seem ill-mannered in another,” Geoffrey A. Fowler, Brian Steinberg, and Aaron O. Patrick report for The Wall Street Journal.

“To recreate the delicate dynamic in the U.K., Apple hired two moderately well-known actors, David Mitchell and Robert Webb, who have their own TV sitcom in Britain called ‘Peep Show.’ The actors play characters similar to their roles in the show, which follows the lives of two friends sharing a London flat. Mr. Mitchell’s character, a bank loan officer, is sensible and stuffy. Mr. Webb plays a musician who is sociable and uninterested in getting a regular job,” Fowler, Steinberg, and Patrick report.

Fowler, Steinberg, and Patrick report, “The U.K. versions hew closely to the original, though some dialogue is made more relevant to local audiences. In one U.S. ad that shows the PC suffering from a terrible cold,meant to represent a computer virus, the bug is a ‘doozy.’ But in the U.K., the virus is a ‘humdinger.’ TBWA also wrote a new spot for the U.K. that uses a real statistic to deliver one of the key messages of the campaign: that PCs are designed for work and Macs for fun. In the ad, Mac points out Brits work longer hours than any other nationality in Europe. ‘And they get less holidays,’ says PC. ‘Smashing, isn’t it?'”

Full article, with more including the Japanese versions of Apple’s TV ads, here.

26 Comments

  1. I visit MD every day, and have for years. But I must say it’s the commentary after most stories that truly makes my day. It’s not uncommon for me to be reading through stuff and crack up laughing at the wise cracks some of you post. Thanks for the laughs.

  2. >PCs are designed for work and Macs for fun.>

    Whaaat?

    Macs get more work done in a shorter time than virus ridden pc’s. Pc’s are used more for games than Macs are. ‘Seems they have it ‘Bass akwards’ in the UK. But then again, it is the UK>

  3. Why the special treatment for the UK? Doesn’t make sense!

    They understand the American vernacular and would appreciate the same ads as the USA.

    Austraylia gets the American ads and they, get them as well!!!

    Our Pommie mates have a well honed sense of humour so there was no need to make a local brew.

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