Blog Post

Apple’s New Ads: Fantastic in Lots of Little Ways

Over on Apple’s (s aapl) web site are the latest ads in its “Get a Mac” campaign. The new commercials, titled “Top of the Line” and “Surprise,” continue the tried and trusted “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” theme featuring John Hodgman and Justin Long.

Mac Ad - Surprise 02

“Surprise” sees Mac telling a potential customer on the lookout to buy a new computer that PCs are great. The customer knows a little bit about the differences between Macs and PCs and, confused by Mac’s suggestion, adds:

“But I want one that just works without thousands of viruses and a ton of headaches.”
“That’s a PC” Mac asserts.
“Really? I thought Macs were much more stable and secure than PCs.”
“They’re not!” cries Mac, “You can’t believe everything you hear!”

Curious? Head on over and see what’s going on. It’s not a bad contribution to the series, but not a favorite of mine. This one feels sorta like they’re just going through the motions. I mean, how many more ways can they make the same point, using the same setup?

Lots of Little Fantastic

“Top of the Line” is fantastic in lots of little ways, and in one big way. The big way, of course, is the appearance of Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld’s David Puddy, and voice of Joe Swanson in Family Guy). He plays “Top of the Line” PC, a super-slick charmer.

Mac Ad - Top of the Line Smarm

Watch it a few times, and pay attention to the subtle and fantastic reactions from PC and Mac. PC in particular is brilliant, coming-across as a love-struck teenaged schoolgirl.

Oh, and pay particular attention to Warburton at around eight seconds in. Just try to watch that fake, barely modest expression and not laugh.

24 Responses to “Apple’s New Ads: Fantastic in Lots of Little Ways”

  1. hey Apple fan boys, get a load of this caz ur gonna shit urselves:

    even though it’s just a rumor for now, but if it is true and SL is shipping with an ANTIVIRUS, ur pompous replies are numbered. That may explain why Apple is trying to quickly ship out ALL the tired “no viruses on macs” adds. I wonder what the regular consumer is gonna say when they find out that SL has an antivirus, lol

    oh boy, this is gonna be so funny. Can you predict what the next add is NOT gonna be if this is true?

  2. Astrochimp



    Oh, that’s interesting, but not nearly as effective as what Vista and Windows 7 do. IMO Apple would serve customers to imitate Microsoft, but probably it decided that it can’t imitate Microsoft without looking really, really bad; that would wreck it’s carefull-cultivated image as “innovative”, and fly in the face of the constant Microsoft-bashing.

    Apple customers lose. That’s sad.

  3. Astrochimp

    @Kiko; Thank you, good comments!

    On Brad Brooks: yes, but that’s not nearly as clear-cut as the direct Apple lies about security and stability of the competition. Your example is closer to what all companies do to sell their products: hype them! I don’t at all see that as a try to get customers to run a Windows OS, although Mac fanboys will take any (any!) excuse to attribute malice to that evil,evil Microsoft :)

    On Mac users in general: I think you give them too much credit. There are well-informed and smart people such as yourself out there, but generally I experience Mac fandom as a cultish following, not open to reason or (horrors!) facts.

    On Conficker: I’ll clarify my earlier point: this was reverse-engineered from a Microsoft patch for a vulnerability which Microsoft found.

    It’s possible you guys honestly don’t know about one of the advanced security features that Vista has, which Snow Leopard would serve customers well to emulate (like ASLR, which Vista shipped long ago): digital signatures at elevation-of-privelege time when installing software.

    Question: does Snow Leopard do this? If I install an application from e.g. Adobe, at elevation-of-privilege time, does Mac tell me whether the EXE is digitally signed, and if so, by whom?

    • what are u trying to say w/ ur comment? I’m missing the point here…

      I stated my opinion on the shitty ad. Sure puddy is funny, but that doesn’t excuse the lame idea behind the ad 1 bit. I also stated that use OSX, so what ARE you trying to say man. Nothing obviously.

  4. I am tired of these “macs don’t get viruses” adds. It seems as though that is the only selling point Apple can bank on with all the non-techies. Sad, but true. I even know a few that have recently switched to a Mac and now I keep getting calls because this don’t work or that don’t work.

    A mac IS a pc, with OSX on it. Let’s keep that clear, please. I love OSX and care very little for the hardware that I can get for 1/3 the price that Apple tries to sell (hence, the accurate, but also overplayed PC hunter adds; although in this economy, they are probably more successful). I don’t like having someone control what parts they put into my machine, but then I’m probably a minority.

    Anyway, back to the point, these are funny commercials IF you haven’t seen the other 100 ones. Now they just feel tired and wasteful.

    • I’ll admit it’s not the best marketing tactic. (And I’ve never liked Apple’s claims that their computers aren’t PCs, despite their x86 architecture) However,where is the malware? Other than a couple of trojans, which require an admin password to install, there haven’t really been any major epidemics of Mac malware. Compare that with the drive-by installs of Antivirus2009 (or whatever it calls itself now) that get past most scanners, and the botnets like Storm and Conficker.

  5. Astrochimp

    @greenpaz: wow, that’s ignorant. You seem to be assuming that a) viruses are the only kind of security problem that exist, and b) if you had a virus, Apple would tell you or even help you find out.

    a) is false. Educate yourself.
    b) Apple trades in dishonesty about security, so I sure wouldn’t trust them.

    BTW, I’ve been running Vista since before it was released, and AFAIK I have never gotten a virus or worm. Microsoft has been honest and proactive about security issues for many years now.

    For example, the Conficker worm: Microsoft patched the corresponding vulnerability in October 2008, and Conficker appeared in November 2008. The only reason anybody ever experienced, or heard about, Conficker was that there were a number of people who did not do the Microsoft recommended practice and accept the default of automatic updates.

    Meanwhile, Apple has to *be told* to close security holes, e.g.

  6. Astrochimp

    Sorry, truth is just hard that way.

    I love the choices I have, enabled by staying away from Apple. While typing this, I’m using a 1920 X 1200 monitor, big and beautiful and about a third of the cost of something comparable from Apple.

    Apple does the end-user experience very well, from what I’ve heard. Their hardware is pretty to look at. For consumers’ sakes, I hope they start being honest about IT security issues.

    • @Astrochimp: Although you may feel strongly about this issue, an Apple blog is not the place to discuss it – for one, Apple users aren’t going to care what you have to say as it’s nothing short of trolling. In my opinion, you could gain the attention of a wider audience by writing an article or notifying a publisher on for example.

      I sit here with my Macbook connected to my ASUS 1080p monitor. Compatibility with hardware isn’t a problem.

      In terms of Apple and their consumers being “ignorant,” Mac users are very well aware of the security flaws in their products, and deal with them accordingly. In terms of Apple being “told” to release security updates, we have a community that notifies Apple to relevant problems. Microsoft isn’t always on their A game either, and also has a community of like minded individuals who are dedicated and passionate about securing their products. We don’t know what is happening at Apple HQ, and developers may have decided to release a patch that encompasses many security issues instead of just one, thus the delay. As Apple continues to become a larger target for malware in the years ahead, they will take the appropriate measures to make their software safe to use.

      Microsoft does mislead their consumers. I remember Brad Brooks being a prime example of admittedly selling Microsoft Office 2008 on the Mac lacking features of it’s Windows counterpart when it was being sold as a “fully featured” office solution. That’s shady tactics to get Mac users to switch over to Windows just for an office suite that has everything available.

      No matter what operating system you use, all are vulnerable to an extent. It is ultimately the user, not the operating system, who needs to take precautions and be aware of what website he or she visits, what links are safe to click on, what emails are safe to open, and what not to download in order to avoid any breach in security.

  7. Catmanrog

    This “John Candy like” pulling of the play back ring cord is getting almost good enough for another ad, although I wish Chimpguy would just do a Palin …. or should we wait for Microsoft to start making PC’s.

  8. Astrochimp

    C’mon people, I don’t buy this “they all do it” stuff, and never have.

    All companies hype their own stuff to a degree, including Apple and Microsoft. Apple crosses the line over to hurting people by lying about how invincible their own stuff is (hence, making them vulnerable to e.g. social engineering) and lying about the safety and stability of Microsoft products. Keeping people ignorant hurts them.

    Apple’s ads really do remind me of Karl Rove’s tactics. In this case, the ends really don’t justify the means. It’s just nasty.

    The “laptop hunter” ads from Microsoft are basically true: Apple hardware costs significantly more, and the choices are fewer.

    The “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ads from Apple lie blatantly about security. Anybody who knows anything about security knows also that perfect security is impossible. Apple’s weaknesses and flaws are well-documented, as are Microsoft’s.

    The difference is that Microsoft is honest and proactive about this most important aspect of our computing experiences. Given that neither Windows 7 nor Snow Leopard have shipped yet, and taking market share out of the picture (which is not real security), Microsoft Vista is by far the most secure consumer OS shipping. Linux ain’t great either, but it’s got obscurity to beat the band.

    Apple hurts consumers with those lies, because it encourages them to do stupid stuff.

    Those of you running Apple machines – and, that includes some people very important to me – might be running keyboard loggers, and you wouldn’t know it. Apple Inc. sure isn’t going to tell you.

    I ask of you all: make this a better, safer world for our information, and implore Apple to find honesty here.

  9. Kenneth H.

    In my opinion, poking holes in advertising is a pointless endeavor. You are trying to sell a product, you’re going to say whatever is necessary. At some point, every advertiser is just a glorified snake oil salesman and should be viewed as such. Is it necessarily the right thing to do? No, not really. But it is the nature of the beast.

    These ads aren’t really targeted at people who read PC/Apple related forums and know what is what. These are targeted at people that don’t know that they’re being misdirected at some way or another. Informed consumers probably already own the product (or its competition) and ignore these ads.

  10. @Astrochimp …So you troll an Apple blog?

    Microsoft and Apple both have commercials that are misleading to the general public and appeal to their respective fans. Of course Apple is going to vouch for their products, and Microsoft theirs. It’s a competitive market – and the information certainly isn’t hurtful. It’s a “commercial” meant to poke some fun. I certainly don’t go to a Windows blog and post about how much I think Microsoft is “deceptive” because of PC Lauren esque ads I see on TV.

    People will use equipment they are most comfortable with, whether it be an Apple or a Windows machine. I use both for various purposes, but I will say I am happier with a Mac as it’s better tailored for my needs. The operating system is solid, the developer community is wonderful, and there are a few glowing Mac communities around the web that are a joy to be a part of.

    If the Microsoft company and fans are going to sell Apple users and the undecided on their products, the last thing you’d want to do is call us a “cult,” because we are far from it. We’re just a group of people who love talking about the equipment we enjoy, much like how Ping or Callaway golfers might have a devotion to their products, or how Windows users might find their outlets in hardware modding forums or software customization blogs.

    In the end what a consumer purchases will not be because of a commercial, but because of what they feel comfortable with in their lifestyles.

    In terms of this article promoting the Apple commercial, of course it’s biased – it’s an Apple blog! The author is free to promote his opinion and I certainly agreed with him: the actors all did wonderful jobs, no matter what the cause was for.

  11. Astrochimp

    @catmanrog – apparently you have nothing substantive to add… typical :)

    Apple hurts people by deceiving them (about security, stability, etc. in competing products). They’re very good at it. It sells Apple hardware.

    I’m posting here because the article is carried on, and I want to poke holes in the hurtful misinformation. It reminds me of the Republican party selling the war against Iraq, and killing so many hundreds of thousands of innocent people, for no good reason… Apple’s lies aren’t quite as destructive, but they’re dangerous anyway.

    Sorry to burst your cultish bubble :(

  12. Astrochimp

    Brilliant mendacity.

    Once again, Apple is pretending that Microsoft is still shipping Windows 98, and that Apple has no security issues.

    Perfect security is impossible. Plus, the fact that Macs have security issues is all over the web. Apple’s new OS version has memory randomization (ASLR) so in that sense is catching up to what Microsoft shipped with Vista about three years ago, but probably still has catching up to do.

    Pretending that Macs have zero security issues encourages risky behavior, and so hurts consumers.

    It’s like selling cars with this twist: “This car never ever has accidents. You don’t even have to wear a seat belt!” It might work for a while, but the risk to the consumer is huge.

    I don’t know how Apple gets away with this crap.