Mac vs PC: The Global, Bizarro, Historical View
Monday/August/31 2009 Filed in: TV Commercials
Hello, I'm a Mac ... And I'm a PC
It's been three years now since Mac and PC first teamed up for the Apple ad campaign. Has it all been worth the trip?
The TV commercials still seem to create buzz and the latest round has Patrick Warburton and Robert Loggia joining the Mac and PC avatars.
Perhaps more important to the Apple bottom line, Ars Technica reports that Macintosh US market share has trended upward since the campaign began.
Around the World
Here in the US we know Mac and PC as Justin Long and John Hodgman and it's hard for us to imagine anyone else playing this Odd Couple. But around the world, Apple depends on local talent. How does the rest of the world see the Felix and Oscar of personal computing?
Here's several takes on the Pie Chart commercial from around the planet.
The dynamic between Mac and PC is familiar here, though PC presents a fairly stuffy persona compared to John Hodgman's more nuanced approach. Mac here seems to be trying to channel the gifted and underrated Justin Long.
Apple employs the comedy team Rahmens for their commercials in Japan. It's interesting - and probably smart - that Apple doesn't always try to replicate the total look and feel of the US versions. There's a very different vibe here between Mac and PC.
Bizarro Jerry and Bizarro Bill
There was another strange incarnation of this odd coupling when Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates teamed up for a short-lived Microsoft marketing disaster.
This Bizarro version of the Macintosh campaign is ironic given that Jerry is a huge fan of Superman. That Jerry's character on Seinfeld always had the most current Mac sitting on the desk in his apartment made the campaign that much more...well...bizarre.
The campaign was successful only in finally exposing Jerry to the Seinfeld Curse that had allegedly plagued Michael Richards, Jason Alexander and, until Old Christine, Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
The Real Thing
Perhaps the strangest version of Mac and PC was the 2007 joint interview of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
How It All Began
Hello, I'm a Mac...
During the 1984 Super Bowl, Apple Computer ran a Ridley Scott-directed commercial in which a dark apocalyptic world is transformed and redeemed by a hammer-hurling beauty.
Even Steve Jobs was conflicted about whether Apple should use such a brash ad to introduce the Macintosh. But this commercial is a graduate course in how to do everything right and pull it off with style.
Reportedly shown as a paid ad only once, this commercial, created such a legacy of cool that Macintosh is still reaping benefits.
This is Marketing Apocalypzia of the first order.
... and I'm a PC.
Just two months later, the IBM PCJr was launched with a very simple mission -- take down that pesky little upstart Macintosh.
While Apple's introductory commercial engaged the imagery of a future gone wrong, IBM's suggested the imagery of a past gone right, or at least so they thought.
The campaign, however, centered on Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp, from the 1936 silent film Modern Times, a scathing critique of how the industrial age fueled desperation during the Great Depression.
This is the spokesperson for your new product? Yikes!
We call it the beginning of the end of IBM's leadership in personal computing.
Other Apocalypzia Posts:
Has Apple Lost Its Cool?
TV Commercials category.