Astute Criticism of the New ‘Genius’ Ads by Ken Segall

Ken Segall:

Therein lies another problem with this campaign. In the effort to show that the Genius is the most helpful guy in the world, Apple has created customers who, shall we say, are on the dim side. In past ads, Apple has shown “ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” simply because Apple products are so easy to use. Now we have thick people who want to be better, but need a Genius to help. Not exactly flattering.

I’m not defending this aspect of the ads. “These Mac users are pretty dumb” is dangerous territory, no matter how deftly it’s treated. But the idea here is that they’re not supposed to be flattering. The idea is these on-screen Mac users in need of help are supposed to make the viewer at home feel like, “Hey, I’m smarter than that guy.” The idea that these spots insult Mac users’ intelligence reminds me of the misguided criticism that the old “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” ads were insulting to would-be switchers because Hodgman, the PC, was a doofus.

There’s really no way to evaluate the effectiveness of these spots without talking to people who’ve never bought a Mac but are thinking about buying their first.

Monday, 30 July 2012