"Apple's New Mac Ads Are Embarrassing"

Apple Genius Ad

Sean Hollister:

Whether or not you like Apple products, it’s hard to dispute the power of the company’s iconic ad campaigns. From the famous “1984” ad for Macintosh, 1997’s “Think Different,” the 2006 John Hodgman/Justin Long “Get a Mac” series through to today’s iPhone ads, the work of TBWA/Chiat/Day has been consistently simple and clever, positioning Apple products as perfectly crafted moments of zen-like calm that make your life easier.

Apple’s latest series of three commercials, broadcast during the 2012 London Olympics, are nothing like that.

I couldn’t agree more. The three advertisements are strikingly cringeworthy. Certainly not Apple’s finest moment.

Notably, it’s interesting to observe the divergence between Apple’s iOS and Mac advertising messages. With iOS, the “beauty” and fluidity of the operating system are harkened upon to emphasize ease of use. Siri’s arrival has further solidified this message, as iOS has gained an affable voice of its own. In the eyes of the audience, iOS is framed as a means to cut through the complexities of both the real and digital worlds.

With the Mac, on the other hand, the message tends to pander toward the ill-perceived unintelligence and ineptitudes of the consumer. Rather than complimenting the end-user’s lifestyle and capabilities, the message instead relies upon cheap and utterly stereotypical scenarios. Further, as is evidenced by the requirement for the Genius to rectify such problems, the message reminds the consumer that solutions to traditional computing problems cannot be answered by the serendipitous hold of a Home Button, but instead by a drawn-out visit to a Genius Bar.

Considering the resurgent push for Mac adoption, such advertising seems to rely upon precisely the stereotypes of the traditional computing environment that Apple has sought to defeat. Undercutting the significance of Mountain Lion’s consumer-facing improvements, the message is of complexity, difficulty, and unintelligence.

Arguably such a campaign will only have a fleeting presence, but it’s still a shame to see such a destructive, cheap, and pandering message perpetuated by Apple.