Sarah DeLuca Writing 105 Due: 11/ 7/06 WRT 105 (T&R @ 3:30) Apple of my Eye Hello, I’m a Mac. Macintosh, also known as Apple, currently released a new commercial advertising campaign in 2006 called, “Get a Mac.” I like the name, it’s simple, its to the point- no subliminal messages hidden within abstract content trying to secretly convince the viewer to purchase the product; the ad campaign says it all: Get A Mac. Apple’s marketing campaigns have become progressively less abstract since its original Macintosh release in 1984 during the super bowl. The original 1984 commercial was apart of Macintosh’s first marking campaign, “Think Different.” This campaign projected the notion that Mac computers were superior in style over substance. However, Macintosh quickly recognized that their marketing campaign targeted a limited audience of creative professionals such as writers, illustrators and amateur filmmakers. The company attacked this marketing error in 2002 releasing their second campaign, “The Switch.” The series of commercials within this campaign revealed testimonies from former Windows users who had ‘made the switch’ to the Mac. However, the second campaign did not successfully harness the attention of their target audience; the ordinary person. 1 Apple tried again in 2006 by launching, “Get A Mac,” a distinctly different marketing approach, yet still striving to grasp hold of their desired target audience. How would Apple persuade the ordinary person to take a delicious bite of their product? How would Apple tempt the average Joe to take a risk, and take a bite? Somehow, within these new commercials the company was going to convert the average home PC user into a loyal Mac lover. The “Get A Mac” campaign chose to cast actors John Hodgeman and Justin Long for the series of commercials.2 John Hodgeman is a P.C. and Justin Long is a Mac. The 1
two actors represent
the two computer systems
advertisement and project
characterizations of the
separate products. Seb
Janacek describes John
Hodgeman [as the
P.C.] with the
characteristics of, “a
suited business man-
easily ruffled and
technologically clueless.” While Justin Long [as the Mac] is a “young chap in jeans, a hooded top and sporting designer stubble.”3 The campaign uses the marketing strategies of personalizing the product with unique characteristics and presents its product message through comparative advertising.4 The music chosen to play as the campaigns background audio is childlike and “adds to the impression that the target audience is being condescended to.”5 The format of the advertisements reveal the two actors against a pure white background (characteristic color for Apple), they both directly address the camera and their facial expressions and mannerisms are effectively revealed through the use of multiple camera perspectives/angles. At this point, I think it is important to view the actual commercial content in order to fully understand my analysis and the multiple marketing techniques that Macintosh computers uses to enhance the message of their product and reach their new target audience. There are currently 15 commercial advertisements circulating within this released campaign series; however, I chose to select six of them that I personally thought were most effective, embodied different corporate messages, and connectively correlated to the others in order to nourish the viewers initial corporate associations. The first commercial of focus begins at the birth of the relationship between the product and the customer; the day you take the computer “out of the box.” (Watch the first chapter “Out of the Box,” on the included DVD.) On the official Macintosh website, under the “Get A Mac” menu tab, it lists the top 14 reasons why you should ‘get a Mac.’ The commercial you have just seen
corresponds with their 14th reason- that it’s ‘awesome out of the box!’ The website states, “Bring home a new Mac and you bring home an OS with more than 200 built –in features- including Dashboard widgets, Mail, and iChat AV, among other cool thingsand the award winning suite of iLife applications!” The iLife software is applicable with every application compiled within the computer and also possesses professionally designed templates. In this commercial, actor Justin Long is so excited to start toying with the installed programs that he actually hops out of his white box while P.C. lags behind the quick pace and excitement that Mac exhorts. The message that Apple is delivering within this commercial is conveyed directly within their own website statement, “forget the fine print. With a Mac, fun is not sold separately.” The second commercial targets the features of iLife applications included with every purchased Mac. (Watch the second chapter “iLife,” on the included DVD.) I find this commercial to be quite funny. First, it starts off with P.C. attempting to be ‘hip’ by listening to his ipod and doing this awkward sort of jig. He then places his ipod into his leather waist holder and explains to Mac that his computer works ‘seamlessly’ with iTunes. This statement reveals a common similarity between the two contrasting computers; that both comply with iTunes. (To digress, I also found that P.C. was intentionally scripted to refer to his music as ‘slow jams’ in order to highlight the concept revealed within the first ad, that P.C. is undeniably slower.) Mac then tells PC that he should check out “imovie, iphoto, and iweb because they all work like iTunes, you know, iLife; comes with every Mac.” P.C. then tries to retaliate and state his ‘cool’ applications such as….a calculator….and….a clock. P.C’s attempted retribution is portrayed as humorous because applications such as a calculator and a clock are considered primary features compared to the professional capabilities of iLife. Therefore, Mac reigns superior. The third commercial of focus is called ‘counselor’ and exposes both P.C. and Mac within a therapy session in order to discuss and resolve their conflicting issues. (Watch the third chapter “Counselor,” on the included DVD.)
The previous commercial left Mac reigning superior in abilities; therefore, this therapy commercial appropriately follows by addressing how P.C. has begun to feel ‘inferior.’ P.C. expresses how he, “feels inadequate, P.C.’s get viruses, we can’t do as much out of the box;” these comments directly correlate to the previous commercial and connect the viewers train of thought. When the counselor asks Mac to say something nice about P.C. he is easily willing and able to say that he, “is a wizard with numbers and dresses like a gentleman.” This compliment reinforces the viewers original impression that P.C.’s are built for business purposes. P.C. then compliments Mac’s qualities in stating that, “Mac is better at creative stuff, even though it’s completely juvenile and a waste of time!” P.C. is unable to restrain his frustration and acts like a child by turning his back to Mac and mumbling the insult indirectly. This commercial situation portrays that Mac’s newly discovered application suite has became difficult for P.C. to adapt to and accept. The fourth commercial ‘work vs. home’ portrays the two computers expressing their own ways of capturing a family vacation. (Watch the fourth chapter “work vs. home,” on the included DVD.) This commercial plays off of the compliments that both computers revealed about the other. First, Mac reinforces how its into ‘fun stuff’ like movies, music, and podcasts. Second, P.C. reiterates his quality of ‘being good with numbers,’ by stating that his fun activities are “time sheets, and spread sheets, and pie charts.” He then delivers a presentation of how he would capture the fun of a family vacation through a pie chart. In all visual consideration, a pie chart is neither ‘fun’ to look at or to create; therefore, the P.C. embodies the qualities of being dull and boring. I think that this commercial in particular works against Macintosh’s marketing campaign because it is dividing the applications of work vs. home (fun) and associating them with the separate systems. Does Mac really want to eliminate their involvement with business applications? The fifth commercial, “better results,” is my favorite advertisement in this
campaign. The commercial compares the quality of home movies between the two systems. (Watch the fifth chapter “Better Results,” on the included DVD.) How funny is this advertisement? The marketing technique of comparison through visual representation is mastered within this advertisement. The personalities of both computer systems are embodied within actors John Hodgeman and Justin Long, and the quality of their movie abilities are instilled within the appearance of the contrasting models. The visual associations and interpretations are simply enough for viewer’s to draw their own inferences of opinion! The idea that the Mac computer is young, hip, attractive, fun, and active is fortified by the attractive woman standing next to her master, the Mac. Justin Long and this model look like a fun, attractive and active couple! While P.C. is hitched to a hairy cross-dressing man! (The only element I would have included would be the P.C. home movie belching or scratching his butt.) One of my favorite parts within this advertisement is when P.C. glances right at the camera and addresses the audience with this stunned expression once the Mac home movie walks out; an expression of shock, as if P.C. users were underestimating Mac’s capabilities. The Macintosh website states, “The beautiful themes, polished menus, and smooth transitions in iDVD will dazzle and delight your toughest critics. Your friends will hardly realize they sat through vacation photos and home movies!” Finally, the sixth commercial ‘accident’ discloses a new concept of Mac superiority; technical simplicity and intelligent design. (Watch the sixth chapter “Accident,” on the included DVD.) Personally, I think that the technical simplicity and intelligent design is one of the best aspects of the Macbook itself. This commercial is emphasizing two technical features of the Macbook; the magnetic power cord and the small built-in iSight video camera, two features that the P.C. doesn’t possess. The commercial visually embellishes the concept of intelligent design by placing P.C. in a wheel chair with casts on both arms and one leg. I’m sure that there are only a few P.C. computer users who have actually tripped over their power cords and witnessed the type of freak accident that P.C.
elucidates, yet the commercial stresses the potential possibility. The iSight video camera is also an essential technical feature to the Macbook because it allows the user to video chat with up to four friends (through the instant messaging program iChat), take photographs, and record videos. If I were in the creative advertising department for these commercials I would illuminate the iSight technical feature because video chatting is quite popular amongst Mac college-users and the target envy of P.C. peer-users. Yet, these technical advantages are aimed at influencing their target audience of ordinary people who don’t want to necessarily be ‘creative.’ Mark Rodgers states, “The general public wants a computer that they know is solid and reliable,” which are the key characteristics prominent within this ‘accident’ commercial. The intention is to ignite interest in viewers from another demographic. Macintosh Computers are still being projected as a creative machine compared to the P.C., yet through the new campaign ‘Get a Mac,’ Apple computers plan to reach the general public as their target audience. The advertising series focuses less on the creative aspects and includes other aspects such as the intelligent design, technical simplicity, professional capabilities, seamless integration and their ability to cross into the business software easily. However, the characterization of the two platforms, Mac vs. P.C., may reinforce the previously held associations of Mac being a creative machine. By the platform portraying P.C., John Hodgman, as an technologically clueless, middle aged man, the company may be insulting their target audience of the general public instead of persuading them to convert to Mac users. Does the humor of the ads sell the product? I believe that the advertisements are cumulatively persuasive through the use of humor, simplicity, cinematography, actors, audio selection, and the variety of aspects integrated within the marketing advertisements. I have made use of all of the iLife applications; I made the very dvd that you watched of Apple commercials using their praised idvd software and it was easy. I love my Mac. Buy A Mac!
End Notes 6
Information from the Minority Report Information from Duncan’s TV Ad Land website by Duncan Madeod 3 Comments by Seb Janacek from the ‘Minority Report’ 4 Terminology learned from Dean Rubin’s COM 107 lectures 5 Statement by Seb Janacek from the ‘Minority Report’ 2
Bibliography Accident. Dir. Phil Morrison. Perf. John Hodgman, Justin Long. DVD. Epoch Films, 2006. "Awesome Out of the Box." Get a Mac. 2006. Macintosh Computers. 25 Oct. 2006 <http://www.apple.com/getamac/movies.html>. Better Results. Dir. Phil Morrison. Perf. John Hodgman, Justin Long. DVD. Epoch Films, 2006. Cheng, Jacqui. "Apple Ditching "Creative" Image for Wider Appeal?" Infinite Loop. 14 July 2006. 25 Oct. 2006 <http://arstechnica/journals/apple.ars/2006/7/14/4649/p2>. Counselor. Dir. Phil Morrison. Perf. John Hodgman, Justin Long. DVD. Epoch Films, 2006. "Design That Turns Heads." Get a Mac. 2006. Macintosh Computers. 25 Oct. 2006 <http://www.apple.com/getamac/movies.html>. Duncan. "Get a Mac Production Teams." Duncans TV. 27 May 2006. Apple Advertising Ads. 25 Oct. 2006 <www.duncans.tv/2006/apple_get_a_mac>. "Hollywood-Style Movies." Get a Mac. 2006. Macintosh Computers. 25 Oct. 2006 <http://www.apple.com/getamac/movies.html>. iLife. Dir. Phil Morrison. Perf. John Hodgman, Justin Long. DVD. Epoch Films, 2006. Janacek, Seb. "The New 'Get a Mac' Ads." Silicon. 8 May 2006. 25 Oct. 2006 <http://hardware.silicon.com/desktops/0,30924645,39024645,39158738,00.htm>. Out of the Box. Dir. Phil Morrison. Perf. John Hodgman, Justin Long. DVD. Epoch Films, 2006. Work Vs. Home. Dir. Phil Morrison. Perf. John Hodgman, Justin Long. DVD. Epoch Films, 2006. "You Can Make Amazing Stuff." Get a Mac. 2006. Macintosh Computers. 25 Oct. 2006 <http://www.apple.com/getamac/movies.html>.