Chicago Tribune critic doesn’t get Apple’s ‘Get a Mac’ campaign, why people choose Macs, and more

“I’m a PC,” Steve Johnson proudly and ignorantly proclaims for The Chicago Tribune. “Ignorantly” because in his article Johnson reports that he has zero Mac experience, but we’re supposed to value his opinion anyway, we guess.

Johnson doesn’t let total ignorance get in his way, “For a long time I was fine with that. My computers booted up like molasses on a modest incline and booted down like that same molasses 20 degrees colder and 10 degrees more horizontal. But the software kept ‘working’ from one system to the next, and I knew the rules. But then Apple started that never-ending ad campaign. It employed comic author John Hodgman and a foil to convince me that PC users are doughy glasses-wearers who look like comic author John Hodgman, while Mac users possess long hair that manages to look both clean and kempt.”

MacDailyNews Take: For two and a half years, over 50 ads have been aired by Apple in their “Get a Mac” campaign and Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune Internet critic, hasn’t yet figured out that John Hodgman is playing the “PC.” He’s not a “PC user,” Steve. He’s the PC itself. A Windows PC, to be precise. To most people, the “Hello, I’m a Mac” and the “I’m a PC” lines delivered by the actors were dead giveaways. How are we supposed to value Johnson’s opinion when he can’t even grasp the simplest, most basic, most obvious, most central concept of the campaign?

Undeterred, Johnson stumbles on blindly, “I started to doubt my innermost self, which, after all, is only a manifestation of the technology I choose. Maybe if I spend $1,000 to get a machine that does less than my current one, but is all white, I thought, I will be able to wear a different hairstyle and stop tucking in my shirt.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yup, that’s the reason why 30 million people use Macs, Steve. Good guess, genius. Steve Johnson, who’s never used a Mac, still knows everything there is to know about Macs. After all, he is a critic.

Johnson flails onward, “But because I am fundamentally cheap, I chose to live with this doubt. It’s the kind of wishy-washy thing those of us with imperfect eyesight do. We also wear short-sleeved button-down shirts and get repeatedly verbally bested by those who own less ubiquitous computer hardware.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, Steve, you do. And not just verbally, but in electronic print, too. Only Apple Macs can run the world’s largest software library. Therefore, they do much, much more than any PC. Because, Steve, Macs are not only Macs, but they can slum it as Windows PCs, too. But, hey, don’t let us stop you with the facts. Please continue making a complete idiot of yourself. It amuses us.

Johnson complies, “I am a PC. And that’s OK. Maybe I don’t love it quite as much as these people, but it’s fine. Now Apple is firing back with new ads that make fun of Microsoft for spending so much money on its ads. It’s a tough point to score in what are, after all, the latest in a long line of paid advertisements.”

MacDailyNews Take: Unsurprisingly, as it’s from a guy who can’t even figure out the basic premise of Apple’s “Get a Mac” commercials, Steve gets it wrong again. Stevie, Apple is criticizing Microsoft for spending money on ads to promote Vista instead of first fixing their ill-conceived and even worse-received operating system. Microsoft must think their customers are really stupid. And, obviously, some are.

Johnson proceeds blissfully, “And Apple’s tone is beginning to sound a little haughty, its sneer to look a little more detectable. I’m not sure which people you win over by telling them they’re sheep and idiots.”

MacDailyNews Take: Stevie, until you actually try a Mac — at which time even you will experience a brilliant, forehead-smacking flash of insight — you are a sheep and an idiot. Most Mac users have been stuck with a Windows PC one time or another at school and/or work. Most PC users haven’t really tried a Mac. This is self-evident because if they had really tried a Mac they’d be Mac users like the rest of us. Mac users have made conscious technology choice and are therefore better informed.

Stevie plods on to his conclusion, “And guess what? Hodgman’s got a new book out, ‘More Information Than You Require.’ It sounded really funny when he was on ‘The Daily Show’ promoting it the other night. I looked at him and thought, He’s a PC too (at least a little bit). Cool. Or, if not ‘cool,’ then, ‘OK.'”

MacDailyNews Take: We almost can’t bring ourselves to do it. It’s almost like making fun of the retarded… Oh, okay. Please see this related article: ‘I’m a PC’ guy John Hodgman really an Apple Mac user (September 25, 2006). Because, Stevie, he tried them both and, like the rest of us, the obvious answer is to choose the Mac. Because it’s better, Stevie. Vastly better. So, next time – if there is a next time (after all, newspapers aren’t doing so well lately… wonder why) — write from experience, Stevie, not pure ignorance. That’s what real “Internet critics” do.

Full article – Think Before You Click™, you’ve seen everything of interest anyway – here.

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64 Comments

  1. I just sent this to Mr. Johnson:

    Mr. Johnson-

    A critic should actually use a product being reviewing it. Therefore, get a Mac and use it before slamming it.

    You are basically lying — pretending to be an expert and fooling your readers to accept a computer as a necessary evil. Not to mention perpetuating an inferior product at an inflated price, i.e. compare any version of Vista with Leopard. Leopard is way cheaper. Then use them, Leopard is way better in EVERY sense of the word.

    As they say, cheap at twice the price.

    Whereas a Mac is a joy, fast and feature for feature, cheaper than a comparable PC — lasts longer ( as it is better made) & has better re-sale value, so way cheaper in the long run — and by the way, it runs Windows and Windows programs as well. Triple way cheaper!

    I am very frugal and I own a Mac.

    I am also a music & film critic — I would get fired if I reviewed things I did not see or hear.

    Now do the right thing.

  2. Instead of griping amongst ourselves, why not complain directly to those who perpetuate myths, etc.

    I just sent this to Mr. Johnson.

    Mr. Johnson-

    A critic should actually use a product being reviewing it. Therefore, get a Mac and use it before slamming it.

    You are basically lying — pretending to be an expert and fooling your readers to accept a computer as a necessary evil. Not to mention perpetuating an inferior product at an inflated price, i.e. compare any version of Vista with Leopard. Leopard is way cheaper. Then use them, Leopard is way better in EVERY sense of the word.

    As they say, cheap at twice the price.

    Whereas a Mac is a joy, fast and feature for feature, cheaper than a comparable PC — lasts longer ( as it is better made) & has better re-sale value, so way cheaper in the long run — and by the way, it runs Windows and Windows programs as well. Triple way cheaper!

    I am very frugal and I own a Mac.

    I am also a music & film critic — I would get fired if I reviewed things I did not see or hear.

    Now do the right thing.

  3. I sent Steve Johnson a copy of this article and suggest that he try a Mac for a month or two and then write another article. Maybe he could use some of that $15,000 that Microsoft paid him to buy it.

  4. Can you all smell that???

    It’s fear!

    All I can say is that the Mac Advertising is working.

    In all the years I have been using Mac no one has ever acknowledged Apple as much as they do now. Microsoft had NEVER spoken Apples name. Apple was always a toy or a computer for “girls” or for those “Art” people. Now they are being purchased by large companies for work that has been done traditionally by PC’s. I am the Senior Mac guy at an Advertising agency and this year we are replacing old PC’s with iMacs. Goes without saying that our art departments are all MAC G5’s or Mac Pros. By next year the only people in the company that will be left on PC’s will be the finance people BUT I’ll get them too.

    I am looking forward to Windows7. That will make my job even easier than Vista did.

    Keep the faith all you Mac heads out there, its working!

  5. MDN as usual doesn’t get it. You failed to grasp even a basic understanding of the article your are attacking. Not surprising. MDN has their head so far up Steve Jobs ass they can’t think straight.

    The article is making the point the the Mac ads don’t give you enough reason why you should by a Mac. And he is right.

    Man I hope this guy sues your asses for slander.

  6. Poor journalism, but hardly surprising that here’s another one who doesn’t get the ads… I mean, if even Bill Gates doesn’t get them! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> Then there’s those others who genuinely don’t get them. I think Apple underestimated just how many people would misunderstand the personification of the hardware & end up sympathizing with the Hodgman character.

  7. This was Steve Johnson’s reply….

    So a Mac cheerleader wrote a really moronic response, willfully disregarding that I NEVER say or imply PC is the better platform? (Quite the contrary- its “habit and parsimony” overcoming frustration.) Pretending to think I don’t know Hodgman is playing a character, even though I explicitly say so?

    Guess you don’t have to be all that smart – at least in the realm of reading comprehension – to be on the Mac team.

    Also, it’s gotta be a little embarrassing to write for something called Mac Daily News and be such a rabid booster. That’s not news; its PR.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing.

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