Justin Long, the “Mac” to John Hodgman’s “PC” in the now-famous ads from Apple, said the funnier commercials were kept off the air by company founder Steve Jobs.
It’s not because Jobs lacked a sense of humor as Long revealed over the weekend to host Lola Ogunnaike on PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing.
Long played the relaxed hipster-cool guy next to Hodgman, an uptight nerd, in 66 different “Get a Mac” commercials that ran from 2006 and 2009. The two would have a humorous chat that highlighted the biggest difference between their operating systems.
The commercials were known by the opening lines the two delivered – “Hello, I’m a Mac. And I’m a PC.” Some 300 were shot and Long noticed some of his favorites weren’t cracking the lineup.
“One, in particular, I remember Zach Galifianakis played a drunken Santa Claus and I was dying to see this one,” Long said on the episode, which aired on Sunday. “Basically, Steve Jobs preferred when they weren’t super funny. It’s because he thought that would detract from the point of the commercial. He thought if people were too focused on humor, they would lose sight of the product.”
The commercials were fodder for haters who saw Apple fans as smug. But the commercials worked.
Apple experienced a sales increase of 200,000 Macs after the first month of the campaign in May 2006. By July, Apple sold 1.3 million and at the end of the fiscal year, reported a 39 percent increase from the previous year’s Mac sales.
The ads ran in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. “Get a Mac” commercials in Japan and England featured comedic actors from those countries.