“To Ad or Not to Ad”? Apple’s Olympics Commercials, Pt. 2 (IPhone 3GS Jailbreak)

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In my last post, I tackled the two Apple Olympics commercials “Mayday” and “Basically.” I did not finish my discussion on the “Basically” commercial, so let me go into further detail about the commercial and what it means for iPhone 3GS jailbreakers.


Apple made two claims with its “Basically” commercial: 1) average customers cannot distinguish an Apple computer from a counterpart one, and 2) the average electronics store salesman cannot distinguish the difference between Apple and other computers as well. As for the first one, we get this through the words of the consumer:


Consumer: “Basically, I just got a Mac myself.”


Apple Genius (AG): “What do you mean basically?”


Consumer: “Basically, it looks like a Mac.”
For the consumer, his new laptop had a similar appearance to the MacBook. Such things as a top for screen viewing, and a bottom for keyboard typing, are features that made his computer look similar to a MacBook. Apple’s statement here is that many consumers see Apple computers as similar to other computers, that there is nothing about Apple that makes it stand out. The Apple Genius (AG) takes the time to clarify for the consumer that there are distinguishing factors such as the applications iMovie, iPhoto, and Garage Band (among others). Again, as I said in the previous article, the Apple Genius is placed in a favorable light, while the consumer has it all wrong in the commercial.


Apple meant to represent the company in quality fashion; instead, what was meant with extraordinarily goodwill was perceived as nothing more than haughtiness and self-promotion at the expense of others. Is it true that consumers do not know the difference between a MacBook and other computers? Not at all! The average consumer knows the difference; however, the consumer does not purchase Apple’s MacBooks because they can get the same great laptop for a much more affordable price from a different company brand (such as Toshiba or Sony). Maybe the consumer wants something other (dare I say it?) than what Apple offers. If so, the commercial did not educate—rather, it frustrated. I do not think this was Apple’s aim, but this is what the commercial achieved.


What about the electronic store salesman, the one that the consumer says “calls himself an Apple Genius”? The commercial makes the salesman look as though he is nowhere near genius material. Again, the commercial stereotypes some cases where electronic salesmen do not possess the technical knowledge that consumers need. The commercial intended to promote Apple in the eyes of television watchers; instead, it made viewers angry and frustrated at the thought that Apple could publish such nonsense on national television.


The “Labor Day” commercial, Apple’s third attempt to get commercials right, also flopped during the Olympic games. During the commercial, “Mr. Greene” wakes up the Apple Genius who lies down to sleep (he sleeps in room “G”). Mr. Greene tells the Apple Genius “my wife is having the baby and I need your help.” When the Apple Genius asks, “What can I do?” Mr. Greene says, “I wanna make a photo card to announce the birth.” The Apple Genius goes into some details about iPhoto, but Mr. Greene cares only about making “photobooks for the grandparents.” In this case, Mr. Greene (the father-to-be) wants to know about photo-making capabilities on a MacBook, but the Apple Genius directs his attention to his wife who is soon to give birth. In this commercial, the Apple Genius is a “genius” of a different sort: he keeps the father-to-be on track and provides the voice of reason that rushes Mrs. Greene to the hospital.


The message from the “Labor Day” commercial is that you can count on Apple to provide a voice of reason when special events come around. Unfortunately, Apple also sends the message that husbands are clueless and uncaring when it comes to childbirth and care more about photos and photobooks than they do the birth itself. This, of course, could not be further from the truth. Apple may have intended differently, but the commercial presented Apple as a “Genius” and promoted the message, “It just makes sense to purchase supplies from Apple.” In other words, the most logical person in the world purchases products from Apple. What does this make the person who does not purchase from Apple? Illogical?


Let me say here that Apple has great products, wonderful technology. The company acquired Siri some time ago before the iPhone 4s emerged (the “s” stands for “Siri”), and recently acquired AuthenTec—an acquisition that will allow Apple to include fingerprint scanning into future iPhones. At the same time, one has to learn to separate his or her love for a company’s products from the company itself. When it comes to the products, I love Apple; when it comes to their practices as a company, their actions are rather questionable. While you may think I am alone in my views of Apple, I am not; there are others who agree. Who are those “others”? I will reveal this in my next post. Stay tuned for more iPhone 3GS jailbreak discussion.

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