In order to analyze these new Apple commercials, I started asking myself questions about the ads. I hoped asking simple questions would reveal insights behind the first new Mac campaign ads the company has released in years.
- Who is the ad for?
- What’s apple trying to say
- Whats apple trying to sell
- Why don’t we see any devices or software
- Why use an Apple Genius? Why use the same Apple Genius?
- How does this compare with other apple ads?
- What does this do to the Apple brand to people like me? To the people the ad is targeting?
- Did the Apple brand need to be brought back down to earth?
- How does iWork and iLife connect with the Mac and buying a Mac?
- Why are the users so aloof in the commercials?
How This Ad Compares with Others
It’s the similarities these ads with other Mac campaigns, and how they are different from other iPhone and iPad campaigns where we can learn something.
It seems like each product line at Apple has a unique character when it comes to their ads.
- The iPad is always magical
- The iPhone is always fun
- The Mac is always down to earth and easy to use.
When you compare this new series of Mac ads to its predecessor the similarities start to show, and we can start to make sense of what they are doing.
- They aren’t showing the Mac
- Only the Mac ads have dialogue.
- Only the Mac ads have characters.
- They give the PC an almost greasy image
- Only the Mac ads refer to competitive products
- They allude to the Mac’s qualities rather than show them
- They are giving the Mac a very accessible and friendly image
- Only the Mac ads refer to specific applications like the iWork or iLife apps
Referring to PCs
The Mac ads being on the only one that refer to other products make it clear to me that the ads are targeted towards users of those products. These are “switch” ads. As switch ads they introduce the viewer explicitly to the Mac’s applications, and benefits of a Mac.
A reoccurring character appearing in different ads helps the audience create a relationship to them. The dialogue between the Genius and his partner allows this message be delivered to the viewer and even lets the viewer come up with answers to questions posed in the commercial
Imagining How Easy Tasks Are
In each commercial, the viewer fills in the role of the Genius’s partner. He can play the role of the partner and imagine doing tasks mentioned in the ad like creating a keynote or an anniversary film in iMovie. Since each activity is only alluded to and not shown, he can better imagine how easy they are to do (Though having a genius help users in each ad doesn’t do much for the idea of Macs being easy to use). This is more effective than Microsoft ads that show users navigating screens.
Macs Are Clean, PCs Are Greasy
They never show an actual Mac, but Macs and the Genius himself are always clean shaven and in clean clothes, meanwhile PC salesmen and PC users are scruffy, even greasy. This way it doesn’t matter what Mac anybody is using, they share those same qualities. At the same time, PCs of all varieties become second class citizens.
It’s Almost A Microsoft Ad
I keep thinking of this as a very Microsoft ad. It’s silly, exaggerated, and seems to have been put together to achieve a single business target. The ad’s message is very explicit in what it wants viewers to do “Buy a Mac!” This series reminds me of Microsoft’s “To the Cloud” ads in particular.
This series feels like it has ruined what Apple geeks want the Apple brand to be, and the one they want to be associated with. In a way these ads are especially disappointing because they are personally disappointing. In the end I can only hope that for Apple, this ad is what they needed it to be.