I’m A Mac

Seth Stevenson looks at Apple’s new ad campaign for Slate:

Directed by Phil Morrison, the campaign is a marvel of clarity and simplicity. No slogans. No video effects. No voice-overs. And lots of clean, white space. It’s like a bath of cool mineral water when these ads come on after a string of garish, jam-packed spots for other products.

Stevenson goes on to say why he does not like the campaign. Read his piece if you want that angle. My take is this work is some of the best material currently running on TV.
While no product specs are given in these spots, I’d argue that Mac buyers don’t buy on specs. And they certainly don’t buy on price. Mac buyers–loyalists and PC converts–buy machines that run Apple’s operating system because it’s easier to use, more robust, etc.
The pie chart spot is my favorite of the bunch, because it neatly exploits the idea that one can do more with a Mac.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Bear Paws says:

    Classic mistake: you’ve fallen in love with the execution. Yet the entire strategy of these ads is flawed, start to finish.
    The ads are talking to the Mac community. They deride people with PCs – which, a good marketer would have thought, is the very market Apple should be trying to convert.
    And Apple, who had recently reached a status beyond the PC, has yet again lowered itself to comparing itself with the PC. Insecurity in the strategy again.
    Yes, the ads are fresh and nicely shot and all that. So what?

  2. Okay, I’ll bite.
    These spots do talk to Mac users. There’s nothing wrong with shoring up your base.
    They also speak to PC users, using a classic challenger brand motif. Challenger brands have everything to gain by taking the top dog down a notch, which these spots do in a smart and memorable fashion.
    Will the spots move PC users to rethink their computing environment? I believe they will move some of the younger, more creative types, and some is all Apple needs to gain market share.

  3. theo kie says:

    Label me an “apologist” for Apple, but I seriously doubt the campaign is off strategy. It makes sense this marketing effort would be aimed at PC users wavering atop the fence, wondering if they should finally switch to Macs – not PC loyalists.
    These spots provide a warm-hearted, gentle push that helps topple this audience into the friendlier, smarter Apple back yard.
    Along the way? It shows Mac users to be caring folks who actually care about PC users. The Mac guy could have easily been mocking & sarcastic. Instead, he’s the recycling-minded neighbor who’ll gladly help the Hummer owner next door change a flat tire. (Truly fantastic casting and subtle direction, in my opinion….there should be a Gold Lion for casting, and it should go here.)
    This campaign is a remarkable blend of why-don’t-we-all-just-get-along brand warmth and cut-throat brand competition. If only all head-to-head advertising was delivered so deftly and with such a smart, strategic heart.

  4. Watch the Touché ad. The PC guy has actually has something up his sleeve. No wonder they aren’t rolled up.
    There’s that slight pause that leaves a tiny bit of room for doubt. The facial expressions and acting is great in this respect, especially the speed and sequence of how each actor reacts.

  5. The ads are nicely done. They’re funny and maintain the Apple flair for minimalism.
    The problem with them is that they’re also very smug and condescending. They seem more geared towards makeing Mac users feel good about themselves, then actually converting PC users to Mac. For instance, saying that Macs are “better” for graphics does not mean you’ll produce better work. It’s just that a lot of graphics programs run slightly smoother on a Mac. My art work comes out fine on my PC. The free software that comes with a Mac is NOT profesional level software. Claiming that iPhoto is profesional level photography software is like drinking non-alcohalic and acting like you’re drunk.
    Or what about that junk about how Macs just work better with hardware (the digital camera ad). If you actually go to Apple’s website and look at the link for hardware, you’ll notice that Apple doesn’t make any of it’s own hardware! It’s all Canon, Samsung, SONY, HP, etc. Do you really think that Samsung or SONY, both Japanese, would actually make a digital camera that wasn’t compatible with one of their PCs? I have a Fugii camera and it works fine on my Compaq.
    These ads are not meant to convert PC users to Mac. They meant to (a.) attract people who know NOTHING about computers and are buying their first one, and (b.)entertain “Mac enthusiasts” and their underserved egos and feelings of superiority.

  6. Rene Alby says:

    I agree with the previous comment.
    As a techie and a PC user I find the Apple ads very annoying, and I personnaly can’t stand the “Mac” guy’s smug superiority, but I recognize the fact that I am miles away from the intended target market for this campaign.
    These Ads are obviously meant to strengthen the emotional connection that mac users have with the apple brand. Mac users are supposed to identify with “Mac” character in the commercials and I suppose by seeing these commercials they are meant to experience the same sense of smug satisfaction. Clever..
    Aside from that, these Ads are meant to communicate with the creative crowd and the youth market. They are in no way meant to speak to the business or techie segments of the computer market. In fact they probably just alienate those segments (like they did to me) but who cares, Apple obviously isn’t after those segments.
    From an advertising perspective A+++ for a clear message, delivered to the right segment. ‘Nuff said

  7. UplanderMom says:

    I love these commercials. Even as a PC user, they are funny as hell and have even me thinking about switching to MAC.
    But then they reassure me that I’m a PC, but there is nothing wrong with that.

  8. I like the one where the girl is taller than all the rest of them. shove…. Dove…girls…tall girls get macs!

  9. I like the one where the girl is taller than all the rest of them. shove…. Dove…girls…tall girls get macs!
    mack trucks?