Why the Mac Ads are Really Bad

Ken Segall:

“Do you think Steve Jobs would have approved these ads?”

Now you’re making me mad. I will never answer a “What would Steve do” question and I hate it when people speculate like that. None of us can possibly know what Steve would do. Steve was a master marketer, but he was also perfectly capable of a lapse in judgment. It’s unfortunate that this campaign is appearing now, nine months after Steve passed away, because the timing only fuels the argument that everything will crumble now that Steve is gone. I don’t buy that.

The truth is, advertising is hard. A lot of really talented people at Chiat pour their hearts into creating the ads that we critique. As you know, Apple’s ads succeed far more often than they fail — just like Apple itself. Every one of us, Steve Jobs included, has experienced failure. It may sound trite, but it’s how one responds to failure and what one learns from the experience that defines character, whether you’re an individual or a corporation.

“So is the sky falling or not? You’re confusing me.”

The fact is, bad ads happen. And sometimes they happen to really good people. The tragedy would be if Apple acted like a politician and dug in its heels for the sake of appearances. I don’t think that will happen. Apple is good at fixing mistakes — and this is one that could use a major-league fixing.

Ken Segall has a unique opinion on Apple’s advertising because he for many years was at the top of Apple advertising from within. You should read the rest of his piece if the Genius ads still concern you. It’s the closest thing to a gin and tonic for the troubled Apple fan’s soul. 

Why the New Apple Genius Ads Work on Some Level

Erica Ogg:

… These new ads seem to be going after the same demographic: people who are not current Apple customers, particularly those who are not Mac owners. They attempt to differentiate Apple by demonstrating how accessible, passionate and helpful a Mac genius can be. But there’s another message too: it shows what you can do with a Mac (make baby announcement cards, coffee table photo books, business presentations). The fact that the genius helped an airline passenger make a quick video for his wife in just a few minutes before the airplane took off sends a message of iMovie’s simplicity.

In this sense, they’re following in the same footsteps as the company’s recent celebrities-using-Siri campaign — which also starred real (OK, “real”) people using an Apple product showcasing what it can do. Those ads, particularly the first one starring actress Zooey Deschanel, were also mocked for being too conventional and because Apple hasn’t relied on celebrity endorsement ads. But they show a product (Siri) in action in a way that’s very difficult to get across with a simple explanation. You have to see something like voice control embedded in a phone’s software in action to understand its value.

The problem for current Apple users is the artifice. Bottom line: we like humor and smart advertising, but this new series feels hollow, and a little pretentious. Why? The users in the ads are stereotypical, and the genius is too sincere, giving, and understanding.

And even so, I think these ads do work for the company that just recently was still selling iPod socks. Sometimes Apple users take the company too seriously and forget Apple’s real humanity is what sets them apart. The genius in the ads may represent the Genius Bar on the whole… but more importantly, he is a lot like some Geniuses I’ve met that helped me with my Macs. He’s realistic on many levels that I’ve experienced.

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Food for Thought, and Everything Else.

My wife shared this piece with me. It’s one of the most peculiar things I’ll ever reshare. I trust you will find it as odd as I did. Enjoy:

It’s been said that God first separated the salt water from the fresh, made dry land, planted a garden, made animals and fish… all before making a human. He made and provided what we’d need before we were born. These are best and more powerful when eaten raw.

We’re such slow learners, but God left us great clues as to what foods help specific parts of our body.

God’s Pharmacy

A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye… and yes, science has shown carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and the overall function of the eyes.

A tomato has four chambers and is red. The human heart has four chambers and is red. All research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopene and are indeed pure heart and blood food.

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Replace Tweetbot’s Egg for Tweetbot’s Bird

I think Tweetbot’s use of the mechanical egg for the alpha and beta stage of the Mac app release is cleverly fun. But if you, like me, really want to know what’s inside the egg, and would like to know what the Tweetbot looks like from head to toe, there’s an icon for that.

Devin over at Coding Massacre shared this icon. It’s for anyone that wants to replace the egg with the bird in their Dock or Applications folder. Devin also provides the iOS Tweetbot icon if you would rather use it on your Mac. In either case, to change the egg icon to the robo-bird, watch these instructions. You may need this app to convert the image into a usable icon format too. 

Announcing the Release of MovieByte

I’m excited to announce that I have joined TJ Draper to host the new MovieByte podcast. It’s available on iTunes and online.

Movies are fun. I reviewed them once as a host for Movieology. We had a good run reviewing films over the course of 2011. The reason Movieology was postponed indefinitely (since January 2012) is that our small studio staff had to divert their attentions to other productions. We have intended to reboot ever since, and now is our opportunity to do so.

MovieByte is run by TJ Draper and myself as a review and podcast website for Liberty Alliance. Let me preface by saying I am Creative Director at LA. That said, LA is very kind to host and support everything for the podcast and website. Of course, any new venture is a labor of love and requires personal sacrifices too. TJ and I have devoted countless hours to create MovieByte and get it launched.

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Mountain Lion Improves Upon Lion

If you, like me, can’t concentrate on anything but Apple’s Mountain Lion release, then you will want to read some solid articles pertaining to the new Mac OS. The most notable I’ve read thus far is from Shawn Blanc.

In his article he points out many of the little tweaks in Mountain Lion that make it enjoyable and superior to the previous Mac OS called Lion. Here is my favorite of his remarks:

The keyboard shortcut for “Save As” is back, but it’s different. Apple says: Use Command-Shift-Option-S to save a document using a different name and location.

See? Apple fixes their mistakes. It’s the little things that add up to make Mountain Lion needful to everyday users. I’ve been looking for a good “Save As” shortcut since the day I installed Lion.