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Kermit The Frog Axed: Creative Differences Or Statistical Miscalculation?

Kermit The Frog Axed: Creative Differences Or Statistical Miscalculation?

by , 11:20 AM EDT, July 27th, 2000

You might have heard by now that one of the five musical iMac ads unveiled by Steve Jobs during his keynote address at MACWORLD has been removed from the Apple web site without explanation.

The psychedelic raga, White Room by Cream, still graces the Snow iMac commercial. Elvis' Blue Suede Shoes still rocks the Indigo iMac. Ruby, Baby, as performed by Dion , serenades the Ruby iMac. And Steppenwolf's classic Born to be Wild forms a clever juxtaposition with Apple's new optical mouse as it races around the QuickTime window.

But where is the Sage iMac commercial? It disappeared!

There are a number of rumors circulating as to why Apple decided to pull the color Sage iMac commercial starring Kermit the Frog singing his big hit Bein' Green from the Kermit Unpigged album.

One Mac related Web site speculated that Apple might have forgotten to get Mr. Kermit's permission to use his song and received a "Notice of Infringement" from the frog's lawyers. Wouldn't that be ironic?

So we did a little checking around and discovered you can still download a segment of Kermit's commercial from those irrepressible youths at macteens.com. But, they don't guarantee it will be there for long.

Secondly, we learned that Kermit the Frog is a wholly own subsidiary muppet of the Odyssey Network, A Hallmark & Henson Network and Jim Henson Company. So Mr. Kermit has an entire copyright administration crawling with lawyers at his disposal.

Furthermore, Mr. Kermit is a big Hollywood star and even does charity gigs for the FCC. He certainly was too busy to return our calls on this matter.

Mr. Kermit also has credentials as a journalist and reliable sources claim he may be in negotiation with one of The Mac Observer's competitors for an editorial position. You have to hand it to him. The frog has a nose for news, as this insightful interview of Lord Vader by Mr. Kermit illustrates.

The Mac Observer Spin:

We didn't find any evidence that Apple was forced to pull the Sage iMac commercial by Kermit the Frog's legal team. We suspect that TBWA Chiat-Day, Apple's advertising agency, doesn't hijack copyright protected material like some Napster addict. No, more likely, under the advice of Chiat-Day's psychometric testing and analysis department, Apple pulled the Sage iMac ad on its own volition. You have to think like a big time ad agency to understand why.

It's true that Kermit's iMac pitch during the keynote address was by far the most popular of the five commercials as measured by the audience's thrill response. Nevertheless, Bein' Green is not the type of "emotional color" that a major ad agency willingly risks a multi-million dollar television campaign on. The minor key of the tune is widely considered by ad agency pitch-men as too soft a sell to promote strong sales, while the lyrics actually suggest to the viewer that he or she would rather have another color. Neither angle is good for ramping up Sage iMac sales, combined they're the kiss of death.

The humor in the song, which accounts for the MACWORLD lay audience's love for the Kermit spot, is probably too subtle for the ad agency's statistical approach to measure. They prefer unambiguous messages which penetrate to the lowest common denominator within the target audience.

But what do we know? Maybe, the darn rock star frog just want way too much money or had an ego clash with Steve over creative control.

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