Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hi, I think this commercial sucks

I have always hated the Mac vs. PC ads. The primary reason is that I find them unforgivably smug, but I'm also a PC user who hasn't been a fan of the Mac interface historically, so I've resisted criticizing them because I thought I might just come off as "kinda bitter PC-using guy." But at the risk of doing that, this ad is fucking retarded.

I'm okay - in an "annoyed by the ads, but at least seeing their effectiveness in conveying their message" kind of way - with a lot of the ads in this series. But this one just sucks. I don't care if Mac wants to make ads about "oh, peripherals are easier to use on a Mac" or "Macs don't get spyware and viruses" - they're still smug as all get-out, but at least they can be smug with some justification.

This ad, though? Not so much. I suppose it was just bad luck that Apple went with the Claymation gimmick right at the same time as Alltel - whose ads, frankly, look a lot better as Rankin/Bass parodies than does this one - so I won't give them any grief about being unoriginal (although parody, by its nature, is kind of unoriginal). My issue with this ad is that it's barely even an ad. Does it tell us anything about the Mac? No. Does it tell us why Macs are better than PCs? No. All it does is say, "Look what a dork PC is! Huh? Huh?" It's not a commercial for a Mac, it's a 30-second excuse for Mac owners to feel smug and cool. It's preaching to the converted. Basically, it's a total waste of money. Do you know what Mac's market share is? Less than 7%. Wow! Granted, that number has been growing in recent years... but it's grown all the way to 7%. Windows machines, meanwhile, are well over 90%. I think it's a little early for Apple to drop the "here's why Macs are better" campaign in exchange for a "PCs suck, haw haw" campaign, given that the latter is directed almost exclusively at people who are already Mac users and there just aren't that many of them.

I'm convinced that the only people who like ads like this are the people who already use the product and dislike the competition that's being mocked, so why do companies think ads like this are going to work? At least when Pepsi does it I can think, "Well, it's not like they have much to say about how much better their product is given that it tastes almost exactly the same." If the differences between Macs and PCs are enormous, maybe you want to highlight that. What happens when you make fun of PCs - and, by extension, their users - for being stupid and uncool is not that everyone using a PC goes, "Oh man! What was I thinking?" What happens is a lot of them get turned off by your message and resolve not to use Macs even when you point out the differences.

Mac market share has ticked up a little since this ad campaign started, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that has more to do with general Mac awareness and the fact that Apple makes other popular products (like the iPod) that get people into the Apple store and generally more into the brand. I really don't think anyone is seeing this ad and thinking, "Man, that guy representing the entire range of PCs is less cool than that Mac dude. Why am I not using a Mac right this very second?" Fucking say something about why your product is better. You know, like you do in your other ads, the ones that don't suck quite as much.

1 comment:

Quivering P. Landmass said...

Aflac has also joined the holiday claymation party where they actually bought the rights to the Rudolph special and incorporated in the Duck. I guess everyone decided that this was going to be the claymation commercial Christmas.