Apple debuts three new Mac ads: ‘Basically,’ ‘Labor Day,’ and ‘Mayday’ (with video)

During the Olympics, Apple has debuted three new 30-second Macintosh commercials on U.S. broadcast and cable networks.

The new, rather remarkable ads feature at the same “Mac Genius” who interacts with everyday personal computer users.

The ads are entitled “Basically,” “Labor Day,” and “Mayday.”

In “Basically,” an Apple Genius points out there are a lot of things that separate a Mac from an ordinary computer, like great apps that come built in.

In “Labor Day,” the same Apple Genius shows a soon-to-be father all the amazing things he can make with iPhoto.

In “Mayday,” an Apple Genius shows a fellow passenger how easy it is to make great home movies with iMovie. All before the tray tables are returned to their upright position.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously these ads are not targeted at the typical MacDailyNews reader and therefore might, upon first viewing, seem simplistic or even stupid. These ads are not at all stupid, they’re simply talking to people who speak a much more basic tech language than we do. When it comes to these ads, we are all paleontologists being forced to watch Dinosaur Train.

MacDailyNews readers, you are hereby absolved from watching these ads. They are not for your consumption. Pay no attention to these ads whatsoever while you share them repeatedly with your parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and anyone else you know who might be in the market for their first real personal computer.

Every Mac user, especially the longtime Mac users who’ve been to the edge and back, should welcome new Mac users whether they know exactly what they’ve just purchased or have much yet to learn.

To take a line from a very early Mac TV ad (second ad below), “The real genius of Macintosh is that you don’t have to be a genius to use it.”

The ad title “Basically” says it all. These ads are appealing to a very basic target audience – the broadest possible target audience – and therefore represent a rather significant milestone:

Apple has finally returned to marketing the computer for the rest of us to the rest of us.

Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal, to take back the computer business from Microsoft, is being realized. These ads are a part of that effort. Apple’s Mac has regained its strength to the point where it can fight for the wide personal computer market again. Microsoft, if they were cognizant, should be shaking in their boots. It’s 1984 all over again and, for the Mac at least, that is a very, very good thing.


  1. Consensus seems to be that they are terrible for Apple standards but they may be effective.

    Apple does need to get more windows users to switch and needs to pimp its stores to non Mac users and explain the advantages to owning a Mac.

    I’m not a fan of these, but maybe they will get better.

    1. Likely you’re not a fan because, as MDN said, these ads are not targeted to you. It’s like a guy watching an ad for a feminine hygiene product, it’s just not meant for you. In this case, it affects you negatively because it’s talking about something you’re interested in, the Mac, but it’s not talking to you. You feel ignored or talked down to.

      As MDN said so perfectly, “When it comes to these ads, we are all paleontologists being forced to watch Dinosaur Train.”

      1. The first one, titled “basically” seems to be targeted at ultrabook buyers. It made me really chuckle. 🙂 At least watch that one for the amusement 🙂

        The others, yes, I agree, they aren’t targeted at me… 😛

      2. STEVE. The idiots are running your asylum, and it gets worse every day, because the “crazy ones” have clearly been marginalized by business school morons. SMITE THEM.

        Whoever approved these ads should be fired. They are in one word OBNOXIOUS. Don’t give me crap about Dinosaur Train.

        These ads are crap. They misrepresent Mac users and the Mac all at the same time, I don’t give a hoot who they are targeted at. Let’s say I’m your guy watching a feminine hygiene ad. Next I get one of these ads. At the end of this I:

        A) Know that it’s a lot of work being a woman
        B) Observe that very stupid people apparently buy Macs, and I know I’m not that stupid so maybe I should look elsewhere for my upcoming computer purchase. I mean these people buy computers, and remain clueless about them.
        C) Know that I never, ever, want to speak with that idiot dork kid that sleeps in that stupid blue t-shirt.

        1. Agree with Tmac, When I first saw one of these ads play on tv I thought it was an ad from someone like Best Buy advertising their Apple products. I was shocked when I saw they were from Apple itself. I wondered how long before the Steve effect would start to diminish from the company, and it seems that is already happening. There’s no way these spots would be approved if Steve were still around. If I had Apple stock, I would sell it now!

          1. As far as branding they are embarassing, I do think they could have, and should have done a far better job getting their point across.

            I am glad they are advertising the Mac again I just wish they had done so with more style. Apple stores are a huge competitive advantage and Apple should explain why, but not like this.

        2. Agreed!

          These ads were the first hard slap in the head for me… made me realize that with Steve gone… the game at Apple has truly changed and we are starting to see the effects of his passing.

          It looked like something any run of the mill ad agency would throw together. Microsoft has produced better advertising than this garbage.

        3. I disagree on that, TM. Mac users aren’t the selling point here, and shouldn’t be. It’s the Mac. People know that there are smart people, and not so smart (read: skilled) You can’t use the super smart to attract a person who needs a computer for a quick easy video edit…too threatening. Are we trying to create a culture of smart people or are we trying to get an excellent device (the best in fact) into the hands of every level of user?

          My sense is it feels obnoxious because it’s sticky sweet and cheesy like a prime time sitcom. But, we’re prime time now 🙂

  2. I’m surprised by the criticism of these ads. Upon first seeing them I thought they were as clever as the I’m a Mac-I’m a PC series and far more gentle.

    As MDN notes, I think these will be really effective ads in convincing non-Mac users that Macs are the best computers. For us fanboys we don’t need ads to convince us of anything. We already know.

    1. These ads emphasize, quite subtly, a huge advantage that Apple has over its competitors. This advantage is that in addition to some marvellous technology, Apple has people working for it that want to help. They are focussed, keen, observant, they listen, and they put the customer first. It is a bit hokey but it works, I believe, as it leaves a strong and clear impression that Apple supports the great products that it sells.

    2. I like them, too. I don’t get the criticism at all.

      We already own Macs. No ad should be targeting us at all. I haven’t met a lot of Mac-to-PC switchers that Apple feels they need to target to save for the Mac. So why would a question even arise about their not targeting Mac owners and “enthusiasts?” Sounds like a foolish criticism/concern.

      I like them. Subtle power.

    3. It’s about time we had a few ads like this. Yes, I thought the Mac & PC ones and other more cerebral style ads were good, but we do need some ads that start telling the story of what you can do on a Mac and stop leaving it up to the imagination in the commercial. I don’t think a few of these commercials hurt at all.
      The “Think Different” ads were fantastic, but Apple needs to throw in a few for the common person now and then. Not just preach to the choir. We do need some ads like those old Mac ads shown because that is the trigger of getting a switcher to switch, is emphasizing what it can do. Half the switchers I have created had NO idea how much a Mac could do faster and better than a PC and with free apps. I had to tell them and do the sell. They saw it as expensive and “cool” but had no idea what it can do. ‘Bout time Apple did some selling of Mac’s best feature’s themselves.
      Creating an aura is great, but convincing a PC user they can do all their PC work faster with higher quality results, and easier is critical right now.

  3. I like them better than the celebrity spots other than Samuel Jackson’s. I think they are aimed at people who are afraid of being mocked for asking a simple question. I think they are selling the Apple Store actually rather than saying Macs are difficult to operate.

    Let’s be honest. If you do more than email and web neither the Mac nor Windows is particularly helpful. I don’t know how large the unfamiliar with computers group is, but it might be quite large.

  4. What people on this forum forget is that they are computer literate while most of the world is not, nor wants to be. The rest of the world wants to “do things” period. They don’t care about file systems, specs or anything technical.

    That is why the iPad and iPhone are so wildly successful…they make doing very sophisticated things that “non tech” people want to do
    SIMPLE and easy. These commercials convey that in non tech terms.

    “the rest of us”….although I have been a geek for years I can appreciate Apple’s adhearance to Steve’s original desire to bring the power of computers to everyone, not just an elite bunch of geeks willing to invest years of their life in the pursuit of geekdom…. Like me.

  5. Not a chance these ads would have flown by Steve Jobs radar, however well intentioned they may be. I recognize they are not for the more sophisticated Mac user for which I think everyone who contributes here an uber Mac user and more likely to be offended by anything less than super classy in an Apple ad. It just makes me a little nervous when we could interchange this as a Microsoft ad and be laughing at these knowingly instead.

  6. “Every Mac user, especially the longtime Mac users who’ve been to the edge and back, should welcome new Mac users whether they know exactly what they’ve just purchased or have much yet to learn.” – MacDailyNews


  7. Anyone else notice that In two of the spots the Genius is doing things that Geniuses don’t do? Geniuses don’t show you how to use iMovie or iPhoto. That’s what the One to One trainers do. Geniuses are tech support, not instructional learning. A little bit misleading I thought. How many people are going to make Genius bar appointments thinking that they can get free iMovie lessons now? And when they can’t, they’ll talk about how they saw it in that commercial and demand some sort of compensation.

    1. Apple will reply “Buy an Apple Genius a round trip ticket to [Genius’ choice of destination] and s/he may be glad to help you learn iMovie during the flight.”

      In other words, these scenes happened outside an Apple Store so Apple is not responsible for what the Geniuses do in their off hours.

      1. Actually these ads show a scenario that would not fly with Apple and a genius who was employed there.

        When you go to work for Apple retail you agree not to represent the company during your off hours!

        This guy would be canned for wearing his uniform after his manager saw this! lol

  8. I’m still laughing at the airplane one.
    And MDN is right. I’m forwarding it to my friend who is considering switching right now. This ad actually addresses exactly what I was indicating to vacillating my friend.

    Apple gets it. MDN gets it. Critical dweebs don’t.

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