About those Apple Genius Ads

| Analysis

They’re not cool; they’re not “Steve” ads; I don’t like them. But they may be appeal to “non-Apple” folks, and if that works, that’s fine. They’re also the first Mac-rather-than-iOS-device-ads I’ve seen since the “I’m a Mac” spots, and that makes them a good thing.

Apple's new ads are great for the right marketApple’s new ads are great for the right market

Since the cessation of the renown “”I’m a Mac” ads starring Justin Long and John Hodgman, every Apple ad I can think of has featured an iOS device — pimarily the iPhone or iPad. Apple’s new spots put the spotlight squarely Back on the Mac, and while I think it’s easy to be a Monday Morning Quarterback on the execution of the new ads, it’s hard to find fault with the strategy — tout the advantages of the Macintosh (you remember that, right?) The ads feature an Apple Genius in admittedly hokey scenarios, solving problems of the typical Mac user. 

In fact, it may be in that “crass” acknowledgement of those very problems that most Mac afficianados take fault. But that may well be where Apple needs to focus. A casual look at mainstream society quickly shows the mass adoption of the iPhone and iPad (take a look at the opening ceremony of the Olympics, for instance, which were a veritable commericlal for Apple’s i-devices) and it’s easy to see that Apple has done a phenomenal job of making those products ubiquitous. So perhaps it is time to move the company’s marketing efforts — or at least some of them — to the company’s legacy product: the Mac.

The efficacy of the campaign is yet to be seen, but I think the idea is on track. Let’s capitalize on the affinity of the iPhone and iPad to promote the Mac. If the halo effect is working, perhaps the time is right to give it a little prime time boost.

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I like the ads and hope they continue with this character. Labor Day especially has a degree of silly ,wry, vaguely Pythonesque humor that really appeals to me. “Cool” commercials have been overplayed and have run their course. It was time to go a different direction. As far as them being “not Steve ads”, well at the risk of being a bit crass, he’s gone. Life goes on. Apple goes on. It’s good to see Apple taking a different direction with its commercials.

I like them.


Basically, they are not typical Apple commercials. No.

Unusual, to say the least, and kind of “out there” and humorous.  Effective? who knows? But they do get Apple and Mac into people’s consciousness.


These Apple ads make potential customers appear like morons.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

These ads are actually brilliant. They only play during the Olympics, so they pretty much target old people who would otherwise be watching Wheel and Jeopardy, and the soccer mom crowd who gets that special feeling in their loins seeing a giant Corporate-Fascist spectacle 8 time zones away with the local military brought in to fill otherwise empty stadiums.

I can just hear 20 million grandmothers talking back to the screen, “that cute boy would probably send me a thank you note in iMessage if I bought a Mac.”


I’m a mac user 22 years now and I not only like the ads I think the May Day ad is cool and campaign has potential to be cool. The Mac/Pc campaign wasn’t universally loved by anyone. It had its weak spots over the years but generally got better over time as they fleshed out the characters. That people don’t think these are cool or are “Steve” ads (whatever that means) says more about them than the creative process that went into these.


The ads remind me of the “Helpful Honda Salesman” ads.


Right after the second commercial, I saw the ghost of Steve Jobs screaming, “THIS IS $&!%!”


After seeing one of these commercials, I said, “That didn’t seem like an Apple ad.” Whether that is a good thing or not I don’t know.

And no, Bosco, it’s not only grandmas and soccer moms that watch the Olympics. There is still something special about an event that brings people from countries around the world together for athletic competition, even if we have to rely on large corporations to sponsor and televise it. If I wanted to see a “Corporate-Fascist spectacle” I would turn to Fox News.



I like the ads and hope they continue with this character. Labor Day especially has a degree of silly ,wry, vaguely Pythonesque humor that really appeals to me. ?Cool? commercials have been overplayed and have run their course. It was time to go a different direction. As far as them being ?not Steve ads?, well at the risk of being a bit crass, he?s gone. Life goes on. Apple goes on. It?s good to see Apple taking a different direction with its commercials.

Agreed completely. No, these are not typical Apple/Mac/Steve ads, but those ads, like the “I’m a Mac” campaign, too often preached to the choir. These ads manage to do two things at once: Show what all can be accomplished on a Mac, AND simultaneously—slyly, covertly—promote Apple Stores and Apple Geniuses.

Yes, amongst the technorati, the ads are drawing huge fire. I don’t watch the Olympics (or any TV), so my first exposure to the ads was via an insomnia-driven Google News session in the wee hours last night/this morning, when I came upon this article in Digital Trends:

New Apple ads make Mac owners look inept, foolish

I actually liked the ads. They are targeting a new audience, one that has no concept of what all can be accomplished on a Mac. And I don’t see how they make Mac users look inept at all. Mayday is my favorite, although Labor Day is good, too. And the Mac Genius? They’ve created an appealing, non-snarky, consistent character (he even sleeps in his Genius getup, like a superhero!) that should appeal to a lot of people outside of Apple Mac’s typical demographics.

These commercials are NOT meant for those of us on TMO. They aren’t meant for people who can build their own Linux PC, people who use Adobe Creative Suite in their sleep, people who manage servers, people who know the difference between asp and php (and have a preference), people who can argue the pros and cons of Drupal/Joomla/WordPress (Drupal wins, FYI), people who run IT departments, and/or people who think the iOS “walled garden” is for sissies.

No…these commercials are aimed squarely at feel-good, just-works iOS users, who by FAR outnumber Mac users. And I say its brilliant: If Apple can get all—or even some—PC-using iOS users into the Mac fold, what will that mean to the Mac’s market share?

“It’s gonna be huge, man, huge.”

Kudos to whoever gets that quote first. smile



You may be right. There is a palpable absence of that ‘je ne sais quoi’ that Jeff Gamet refers to on ACM as ‘Steveliness’. I’m not sure that that constitutes a deficit. We should not forget, many non-Apple computer clients found those ‘I’m a Mac’ adverts smug, arrogant and off-putting - even if effective amongst others. I have yet to see an analysis of the cost/benefit (or risk/benefit) ratio of those adverts, but they were not universally loved.

The Mayday advert got my attention from the first seconds. I fly a lot of long distance international carrier flights. On about 1 in 5, I get the ‘If there a doctor on the plane, please identify yourself to the cabin crew’ call, of which about 1 in 4 of these are serious enough to warrant my being taken to the cockpit for the ‘Do we need to divert the flight?’ discussion with the pilot.

While I cannot, nor would I presume to, speak for anyone else, I do think that many people will immediately relate to the medical meme of both this and the ‘labour day’ adverts, as they are real world, common experiences to which the adverts link, with a very simple, and in my view, very effective point to which everyone can relate. ‘Your computing problems are vitally important to you. Expert help is available when you need it’.

To whom is that message directed? To anyone who has ever used a Windows machine (like my mum-in-law) and, in trying to get help with a basic - and in some cases, urgent and not so basic - problem, and gets diverted to an answering service in Mumbai who are unwilling and/or unable to be more than perfunctorily helpful in the space of 2 - 5 minutes. People have been burnt that way, badly.

In my view, the adverts are well aimed, even if not so Stevely.


Steve didn?t come up with great product ideas, and he didn?t do great design, and he didn?t create great ideas for ad campaigns. His great gift was saying ?No, not good enough.?

If he had seen these ads, that?s what he would have said. But there?s isn?t a Steve at Apple any more.


I used to like Apple ad… either witty-funny or inspiring.  Now its neither.  For the first time, I’m actually missing Steve Jobs.


That’s odd. I found these ads both witty-funny AND inspiring. They make Apple seem more accessible, more human and oh-by-the-way more productive.

Note that all 3 ads talk about either what comes with a Mac or come from Apple for a Mac, and what you can do with it.

Also, they highlight the fact that Apple has someone who can help you with those programs. Another way to emphasize the whole-widget approach.

If you’re trying to separate yourself from your competition, accentuate your features and benefits.

Do you think Best Buy shoppers are going to ask those Blue Shirts to help them figure out Adobe Premier Elements on their Lenovo ThinkPad running Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium?

Computers are a market segment where the general population have no problem relating to the “dumb guy.” Most of the people I help blame themselves for not being able to get a feature to work.

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