• Apple Ends "Get a Mac" Ad Campaign

    The "Get a Mac" campaign, featuring the stodgy, witty John Hodgeman and the dopey, hipster-y Justin Long, appears to be finally over. Apple has quietly removed the Get a Mac section from their website and now redirects apple.com/getamac/ to a new "Why You'll Love a Mac" page. As there had been no new Get a Mac ads since October of last year, many had speculated that Apple was retiring the campaign, which started way back in 2006, when the first Intel-based Macs had just appeared. These rumors were amplified when Justin Long said "I think they might be done" in an interview.

    In 2006, when the ad campaign started, the Mac struggled to get about a 3.5% market share in the US. Four years later, Apple has doubled that to a (still small, but much larger) 8% market share. The ad campaign, though it may have annoyed as many people as it amused, probably played a significant role in building public awareness of the Mac and positioning it as a "cooler" alternative to Windows-based PCs. Many criticized the ads for their snarky tone, however, and Microsoft themselves connibalized the meme directly with their "I'm a PC" campaign, which featured a broad range of Windows users. And the focus on "identity" as a brand had as many risks as advantages. Since I'm typing this on a hackintoshed computer that's 100% non-Apple components, am I a "Mac" or a "PC"… or something else?

    The new "Why You'll Love a Mac" campaign, by comparison, seems to focus more on the claim that a Mac is a better computer, "designed and built to be as reliable as it is beautiful." The Apple site exhorts buyers to " upgrade your entire computer experience," touting the innovative features of Mac OS X and Apple hardware, and bragging about things like battery life and even the company's environmental policy. It may be that the negative reactions had finally reached such a crescendo that Apple felt they needed to shift their strategy. Justin "I'm a Mac" Long told the A.V. Club website last month that he thought the campaign was over. "I heard from John, I think they’re going to move on," he said, adding that "not only am I going to miss doing them, but also working with John... he’s one of my dearest, greatest friends."

    Advertising is, by its very nature, filled with nonsense and puffery. However, as these campaigns have typically lasted for several years, it's interesting to get a glimpse at how Apple intends to position itself. through the middle of this decade, extolling quality over style. If they can back it up with good products, it'll be interesting times indeed.
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