How it All Began
On May 2nd 2006 Apple Launched their first Get- A Mac (GAM) commercial. This campaign was created the advertising agency TBWA/Chiat/Day. In the first year the campaign produced 19 ads. After 4 years the campaign included 66 advertisements trying to convince the public to ‘Get- A- Mac’. These 66 commercials included “Mac” played by actor Justin Long and “PC” played by John Hodgman. Each actor was made to look like the computers they represent along with their creators. Actor Justin Long bears a resemblance to Steve Jobs while John Hodgman was dressed to look like Bill Gates. “Mac” represents a young fun guy who always does the “right thing”. “PC” comes across as a much older male who is uptight and all he cares about is work and not creativity. In each commercial “Mac” and “PC” have conversations which unless end up with “PC” embarrassing himself and showing all the reasons why “Mac” is a better computer.
Research conducted by the company
Prior to the campaign, Apple’s sales seemed to be slowly decreasing. PC’s still dominated the market and Apple was struggling to convince consumers that their product was better. It wasn’t until Apple saw a survey on the American Consumer Satisfaction Index and realized that Macs were constantly rated higher than PCs in customer satisfaction. PC users knew of all the different malfunctions their computers suffer, and Apple wanted to make the public aware of these problems in a way that could make MAC’s look superior. They took all of PC’s many weaknesses from its constant viruses to its inability to give its users any creative control, and showed the audience that MAC doesn’t have any of those issues.
The main message throughout all of the commercials is that MAC is a better computer and overall a nicer guy. Many of the character traits “PC” represents include being arrogant, slow, boring, mean, unreasonable, and most importantly a nerd. On the other hand “Mac” displays a sense of caring, humility, and an overall cool and energetic vibe.
One of the main strategies that Apple used in this campaign was the theme of simplicity. The backdrops of these ads are a plain white seen with nothing else to distract the eye. It is easy to watch and simple, which is what Apple is trying to portray that MAC’s are. The company is subtly making the viewer aware of how simple their product is to use, and how simple it is to switch from PC to MAC (which is who their target audience is, current PC users who are scared to switch). Another strategy is in every “episode” that they aired; they highlighted a specific problem that PC had. Doing this they were able to make their audience question if a PC was the right type of a computer to have. But ultimately they were trying to point out all the flaws to make PC look bad, maybe even worse then the company actually is. Lastly, the main strategy in the campaign was to be humorous. People enjoyed seeing the ads and wanted to look for the next one. This campaign was one that played out like a story; people enjoyed watching them because of the humor and satire that is going on in the ad. Also, the relationship between the two men is a friendship. In the friendship though, a strategy the MAC used was making the character “Mac” the more friendly, caring character. While the “PC” character at times does not always seem to appreciate “Mac’s” friendship and is seen as the cold-hearted friend. Overall, the strategies Apple used are able to capture the audience and keep them attentive and interested throughout the whole campaign. As well as ultimately increasing sales.
This GAM campaign targeted an audience that was not exactly the most ‘tech savy’. This campaign was for those individuals who have a PC but are not quite sure what else there is out there. This campaign was for the average person, those who do not know a lot about software or viruses and never really thought about purchasing a MAC before this campaign.
Critics of the Campaign
With any popular campaign you have to expect some backlash. This campaign was no expectation to that rule. But members of the GAM campaign welcomed the backlash because as they say “no publicity is bad publicity”. Some of the ‘backlash’ comments on the Internet included
- “If you’re a PC user, these ads are more likely to irritate you than convert you.”
- “Apple certainly got a lot of people angry with the Get a Mac ads as well, but that only added to the overall media coverage.”
- “There are other people whom the ads could have the opposite of a desired affect on. Some people don’t want overbearing statements such as ‘Macs are better at life stuff’ without some sort of backing.”
Here is a cartoon that showed criticism of the campaign:
Only after the first few commercials of the campaign sales dramatically increased by 12% in the first quarter of the campaign. In the last quarter of 2006 after more commercials came out, Apple sold a record breaking 1,600,000 Macs, an increase 39%. In the last quarter Apple sold over 2,300,000 MACS. Sales continued to dramatically increase throughout the entire four-year campaign.
Today the Apple campaign against PC is settling down and there are not many current campaigns. But in 2013, Windows fought back at Apple, not on the MAC vs. PC level, but about tablets. The ads were similar to the ones that the Get-A-MAC campaign put out, but instead of the two men representing the products, they had the actual products (IPad and a tablet) banter back and forth through the voice activation systems. Other than that campaign that Windows launched back in 2013, there has been no active campaign launched recently from Apple attacking PC.
The “Get a Mac” campaign turned out to be a huge success for Apple. Although they were humorous commercials, it effectively showed all viewers that Apple is the better product in a way that everyone could understand. They managed to make MAC’s look like the hip new product that everyone’s buying and they managed to make PCs look like the outdated product with many problems that Macs don’t have. This campaign boosted sales for Apple to a level they have never reached before and it convinced many PC users to switch to a MAC. Although it did receive some criticism from some people for “attacking” PCs, the campaign received proved to be extremely effective in reaching its target audience and is considered one of the best advertising campaigns of this decade.