Hello. I’m a mac. And I’m a PC. We’ve all seen the ad. John Hodgeman and Justin Long Bantor back and forth on why the Apple Mac is better as the PC gets annoyed. But does the ad help or hurt the company?
Apple ads have been the most prolific in the computer industry since 1984 when they shaped the way the Super bowl ran ads. In this ad we see a group of “drones” sit and watch a giant screen of a older gentleman discussing how they are celebrating the first year of information purification. In the distance, a woman runs into the room with a sledgehammer being followed by guards in riot gear. She stops, swings the hammer around and throws it toward the screen as the voice goes “We shall prevail”.
The ad was the highest ranked commercial and still is in the top ten all-time favorite Super bowl ads. Since then, Apple has been using unique advertising campaigns to not only promote the Mac, but to also dig into PC’s and Windows. From the “one click” productivity ads, to the man on the podium trying to get his presentation to work on the newly loaded Windows 95 laptop.
No matter how innovative these ads get, the same results came to fruition. Apple had failed to gain substantial market share of the computer consumer.
In 2006, Apple began running ads using the actor Justin Long and Humorist author John Hodgeman. In the UK, Mac and PC were played by a comedy duo of David Mitchell and Robert Webb. The ads talk about how Mac and PC are unique in their own way, but a Mac is better for those who want to share pictures, make videos and make families lives productive and fun. In the end, PC feel s Mac has stolen the spotlight and is bitter about it.
The ads have brought many spoofs on YouTube and other video sites. Whether it’s “Mac vs PC vs Linux”, “Marvell vs DC”, “Wii vs PS3” – a spoof by G4 television – and even “Mac vs PC – South Park style”. Some parody as close as possible, even using the ad theme music and all white background.
The ads have run on TV and the web. Some web ads coincide multiple ad spaces on a webpage giving the ads more to play with. Something happening at the top of a page, and Mac and PC on the right side referring to the above ad. Each web ad gets a little more innovative and sometimes more fun to watch.
But are these ads helping Apple get more market share? Better yet, are these ads accurately portraying what a Mac can do and what a PC cannot (or vice versa). One ad has PC with a bodyguard behind him. PC has Vista loaded on it, so the bodyguard asks PC if he gives permission to continue, as Vista comes with that feature. The reality is that Mac has been doing that a lot longer than PC.
Another ad says that Mac is free of virus and spyware. While this is mostly true about virus, Macs can still get spyware just like any other machine. Some of the ads can be pointed out the claims are not totally true, however others could even be construed as “Misleading Advertising”. Of course that is something for the courts to decide.
The question is whether they help or hurt Apple in gaining market share. To say it’s not helping in some way shape or form would not be true. However, it is speculated that the reason why Apple is at 10% market share worldwide (20% in the US) may be attributed more toward the popularity of iPods, iTunes and iPhones.
There have been some other successful ad campaigns on PC’s side. “Dude, you’re getting a Dell”, HP’s ads using familiar names and how they make their computers “Personal again” and a few of Intels’ ads. Dancing characters in different color radiation suits, the Blue Man Group and even the popular “Intel Inside” theme music all are good examples.
Apple has some other ads that have been innovative and spoofed. Dancing silhouettes of people listening to their iPod is one popular campaign. The Macbook air ad is the most recent. Pulling a laptop out of a standard manila envelope and begin working asks the question “Who needs a computer case anymore?”
The Apple vs Mac ads are probably not going anywhere anytime soon. Apple will continue to develop innovative ads using the white screen technique they have run with since 1984. It will try to help in convincing people to switch to Apple for their next computer, even if it only convinces a small amount of consumers. In the meantime, John Hodgeman will try to show up Justin Long. Justin will say how Mac does whatever and a bag of chips. John will then pout and the commercial will be over.