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. I am glad that the new ads talk about iLife.  The apps are a great reason to get people to switch.  I don’t use them now that I upgraded: however they reminds me to talk about the apps when disscusing Mac to a Win user.  I wish they would talk about the backlit keyboard, trackpad, and a screen that 3 people can watch at once. Those are hard to demonstrate in a brightly lit store.

  2. These commercials miss represent what an Apple Genius position does. What these commercials will do is give the wrong expectation to a customer visiting the Genius bar. This is a creative roll that these commercials are showing using a Genius character. This is NOT good.

  3. These ads are bad.
    I can’t remember this amount of spin effort from MDN on any Apple issue in a long time. These ads are dumb. They professional Mac users, enthusiasts, and give the impression the Mac is for making vacation videos.

    These ads are bad. Bad bad bad.

    They are worse even than the lemmings ad.

    An effective ad would have shown someone at work with her MacBook Pro Retina, getting her work done next to a frustrated PC user, then taking her MBPR home and actually editing some personal video footage. Show the strengths of the machine, not the weaknesses of its supposed user base.

    Come one MDN.

    There is no excuse for this.

    1. Above it should say, “They insult professional Mac users, enthusiasts, and give the impression the Mac is for making vacation videos.”
      It would be easier to get things right if giant pop up ad videos for fricking mayonnaise didn’t appear every time I accidentally touch the mouse.

      1. Mac pros need to love these ads.

        Background. I have been buying, using, teaching, and selling macs since 1988. I was a pro reseller for many years and totally get that some of you 1% use macs to make fancypants movies, commercials, web apps, print ads and so on.

        With that being said, understand that you want dingbats, grandmas, weird uncles, and the technologically challenged buying more and more macs in order to support the case for R&D, down cycle integration of technology, and better industrial design. To form a compelling financial argument for AAPL to not pull the plug on designing for the small insignificant piece of the revenue-pie that the pros represent more MacBook Air and iMac sales will help.

        Like many of you, after 10 years of Mac Tower buying I traded in my 8core Mac Pro for an iMac. I haven’t looked back. The iMac is just good enough. Same is true for MBP as I move further left in the product category. It’s all about moving units at the end of the day and the more units that move the better the products become and the longer the yardstick gets for the competition.

        Being in the ad business for many years, I know that opinions come out everyday (in this forum a lot more than that). The true judge of the effectiveness of these ads will be in the new Mac user metric. These ads are targeting iPhone buyers that realize it just might make sense to buy a mac now too especially since those Apple Store people can make the transition easier. Let us let these ads run their course for a minute or two before we fire Chiat Day and Tim all at once. Steve hired good people and let them do their thing. They are still good people even though he is gone. I would be willing to bet that whenever someone from Joney’s team or the agency presents ideas – they do so with the same fear and same passion that they did when Mr. Jobs was in the room. If we all think we know what Steve would do just imagine what the people who actually knew him are thinking.

      1. You are critiquing something that you can’t seem to step back far enough to properly critique. These ads are not targeted to you. These ads do nothing to diminish pro Mac users. So far in this thread, you sound like a real moron.

      2. I don’t like them either Thelonious. They remind me that Steve isn’t here any more to say, “This is shit!”.

        I can’t help but contrast the sickly image of the nice kid who sleeps in his Genius T-shirt with the wonderfully gritty humour of “Cancel or allow” in the “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” series.

        But maybe MDN is right. They’re not targeted at long time Mac users, but at an audience that you and I don’t get, and who Apple needs to grow the business even further.

      3. What your comment says to me is .., your still procrastinating and your work is piling up… I know it’s Sunday … But you just have to be WAY in behind in your work because you post way to many comments about issues that are really not that important…. I used to think you were a pretty smart guy… But the way you procrastinate .., tsk tsk

      4. 1. That’s what the IT drones have been telling worker bees for years.

        2. Clearly the T-shirt is product associative in these ads.

        3a. Getting friendly help, at any time, is a valuable message for potential new users who likely see computers as forbidding.

        3b. The tasks are complex. Apple made them simple.

  4. Basically . . . I love the ad’s!
    This guy is good, he has great timing and the more times I watch it while showing them to others, the funnier he gets.
    Not Apple’s usual style, but I like the out of the box thinking. Can’t wait to see more.

  5. So the general consensus here is that if you don’t like these ads, you’re just not in the target demographic, huh? I’d ask then, how these same, “non-target” people felt about past ads from Apple. Most people disliking these recent ads have expressed their strong appreciation for past ads…so who were those targeted at, advanced/professional Mac users and MDN readers? Not likely.

    Say what you want, but there’s no way you can make a case that these new ads are of the same calibre of past ones and only differ in who they’re targeting.

    “The computer for the rest of us” isn’t the computer for ridiculous situations involving melodramatic characters of dubious intelligence. There’s nothing “real” about these at all. Wanting to have a little fun and inject some comedy is fine, but this was not done in typical Apple style. These are not witty.

    As they are now, they could have easily been concluded with the genius exclaiming, “Dude, you’re getting a Mac!”, and it would have fit right in.

    1. The only logical hole in your argument is in comparing both the ads and the audience to those of the past. A young audience today is not like a nostalgic audience today; they are different people at different times.

      I see a similar flaw in the undecidable debates about the greatest player of all time in a given sport, ignoring historical context. Or in grumbling about the decline of standards, the dearth of leadership today, etc.

      The only thing that matters is, do the ads work? If they don’t work for us it’s because they don’t need to. We already own Macs.

    2. I’d ask then, how these same, “non-target” people felt about past ads from Apple.

      In the past, Apple ads had a reputation for being sexy, memorable… and utterly worthless at advertising the product. It wasn’t until the “Mac vs. PC” and “Dancing Silhouette” campaigns that Apple seemed finally able to thread the needle and make an ad that was both artistic and effective.


  6. My preference would be an endless stream of Apple commercials starring Judy Greer (See the “I’m a Mac Yoga ad”). Realizing that is probably an unrealistic expectation, I actually think these new ones are pretty good and seem nicely attuned to the market segment they’re trying to reach.

  7. Get over yourself TMac!

    Apple is not talking to you! Apple is merely reaching out to a new market of People that have been suffering long enough under PC’s.

    Steve told Tim Cook don’t be afraid to make decisions that he might not approve of.

  8. I like the ads. It’s a different, less elitist approach. The message is, Macs are for everyone, not just hipsters.

    All you people that hate them have no clue.

  9. I don’t know. Mountain Lion is really nothing to write home about. Lion wasn’t really much either, so ML didn’t have much to build on. OS X is showing its age. Mac sales are off, even with some really hot new products. These ads seem off, not very interesting to me, because part of the whole Apple experience is that the advertising makes us feel as though our products are different.

    I’m wondering if it really is. Because Mountain Lion, after using it this many months, is really not that great, and maybe all Apple has become is iOS. And that’s sad.

    1. Looks like the perfect time for you who clearly feel superior to Apples stupid engineers to finally showmthe world your genius and share you world class OS. Surely you have at least a beta copy for us. Don’t just talk trash, show us what an OS should be. I know you can do it.

  10. I think what everyone is failing to take into account is just how iconic the image of the “Apple Genius” is. Everyone who sees the kid in the blue Apple shirt with the badge immediately know what he’s supposed to be. I don’t blame Apple for trying to capitalize on that.


  11. These ads are absolutely HORRIBLE because they indicate that Macs are sooo incredibly difficult to use that you need a FSCKING GENIUS to help you use them!! HORRIBLE MESSAGING. Steve Jobs would have NEVER approved these ads.

  12. These ads are a welcome relief from the older stuffy ads, especially the I’m a Mac, I’m a PC ads which were never funny and always annoying, but just kept coming anyway. The Mayday one is funny.

  13. The ad called “Basically” is so true, I can’t tell you how many PC users I know who have this story. Many end up as switchers the next time around after I have to tell them exactly what this Genius told them.

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