May 21, 2010: Apple quietly ends its long-running, award-winning “Get a Mac” marketing campaign.
Debuting in 2006, the ads starred actor Justin Long as the cool, youthful Mac. Comedian John Hodgman portrayed the stuffy, awkward PC. Alongside the “Think Different” and the iPod “Silhouette” campaigns, “Get a Mac” will become one of the most fondly remembered extended ad campaigns in Apple history.
The outside ad agency dedicated to Apple marketing was hit with a big round of layoffs this week.
Media Arts Lab cut about 50 employees across multiple divisions of the company. Owned by Apple’s longtime ad partner TBWA Worldwide, Media Arts Lab counts Apple as its only client. The Los Angeles based company helps Apple come up with advertisements for many of its popular products, but is facing changes as Apple’s needs evolve.
You know, computers aren’t just for getting things done. They’re also for getting your game on. With that in mind, the latest Cult of Mac Deals offer has packed 10 fun games that are compatible with both Mac and PC systems into one bundle known as The Entertainment Games Bundle.
And for a limited time we’re offering it to you for just $29!
Microsoft has a rather ignoble history when it comes to trying to counter Apple’s hyper-effective and popular “Get a Mac” campaign. Their first efforts were just embarrassing: a series of advertisements featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates awkwardly mumbling non sequiturs at one another. That desperate bid for hipness failed, and so Microsoft launched their Laptop Hunter ads, which were comparatively straightforward: a camera crew followed “real” computer shoppers as they looked for new machines, and documented their ultimate choice of Windows laptops. Simple, pleasant and marginally effective… even if they did repeat all of the old, stupid fallacies about Apple computers costing significantly more than similarly specced Windows machines.
Pretty soon, though, controversy hit. Lauren deLong, an adorable red ead featured in the “Laptop Hunter” ads, turned out to be an actress with a filmography of ten movies to her credit. Since Microsoft’s ads purported to be following “real computer shoppers,” that made the ads’ truthfulness somewhat dubious.
So here’s the question: were the Laptop Hunters ads what the proclaimed themselves to be, or completely fictional? The “behind-the-scenes” footage of the Laptop Hunter ads shoot, as embedded above and first posted back in September, baldly asserts that participants were not told they were in a commercial until after they had picked their machines.
I’m not buying it. Not only are the individuals in the ads just a little too pointed in their dismissal of Apple products — I think a more common response to why a PC users would reject a Mac would be “I’ve always used Windows machines!” and not “It really seems like you’re paying for the aesthetics” — but surely, a professional actress like Ms. deLong would be savvy enough recognize the financial opportunity that had just presented itself if a film crew that had followed her around all day told her she’d be in a national campaign for Microsoft. The next thing she would have said is, “I have to call my agent,” not “How’s my hair?”
This holiday, Saks Fifth Avenue and Windows 7 are working together to bring the magic of the season to life. For the first time, the legendary Saks Fifth Avenue’s holiday windows are powered by Windows 7. As part of this campaign, there are three Microsoft Windows on 50th Ave that feature video monitors displaying a live feed of people’s holiday wishes for the season shared via Twitter and from kiosks in store.
The windows are the private property of Saks Fifth Avenue. As such, there are filters in place to make sure that in opening them up to Twitter feeds we had content that was appropriate for the general public to view and was within the holiday theme. This filter includes any attempt to spam the windows with negative commentary that is not in the spirit of the holidays. The windows have not been hijacked.
Here’s the thing: if you look at the #holidaywindows, if they filter out “Mac” messages as inappropriate, there’s almost nothing left.
So we need your help, CoM readers: if you’re in New York and happen by the Saks window display on 50th Ave, send us pics.
Thinking further about the new Mac ads — and how if I were considering buying a Mac over a PC they wouldn’t sway me — I came across this post about an accidental switch & bait that turned one PC person, political-science professor Harry Farrell, into a Mac user:
“I was working in my office, when a work-study knocked on my door with a brand new MacBook Pro, which he told me had been sent over from my school’s technology program. I was nonplussed, and told him that he must be wrong, that I hadn’t ordered one etc…
So I finally acquiesced, on the grounds of gift-horses, and the wisdom of not inquiring too closely into the dental conditions thereof, and unpacked it. Two hours later, I was completely hooked –œ more rational and altogether nicer than my Windows box, while much smoother than my Ubuntu installation. I would have wanted to take it home and marry it, if I wasn’t married already. Three hours later, I discovered it had been a mistake, and that it was in fact intended for a colleague with a vaguely similar name… And I had to give it back.”