updated 08:43 pm EDT, Sun July 29, 2012
Highlights Genius help, aimed at switchers
Apple took the occasion of the Opening Ceremonies for the London Olympics to introduce a new line of TV ads, now featuring a likeable Apple Genius technician (forever in uniform at all hours of the day and night) who helps new Apple customers accomplish tasks quickly and easily. While two of the ads feature the Genius helping out in a comical "crisis" situation, a third stands out as a soft rebuke of "knock-off" Windows machines that imitate the Mac.
The three ads are entitled "Mayday," "Labor Day" and "Basically" and are embedded below. In the first, the Mac Genius is summoned on an airplane to help a passenger assemble a last-minute iMovie in order to make up for the fact that he had previously forgotten his wedding anniversary. The Genius calmly guides him through adding clips and music and producing a short romantic video before the plane begins landing and electronics must be shut off.
In "Labor Day," the Genius is awoken at 4 a.m. by an excited father-to-be who announces his wife is having a baby and wants to document the event for cards and photo books to send to relatives. The Genius alternates between explaining the options available and urging the husband to get his wife to the hospital in a light-hearted ad that gently satirizes Mac owners' (and Apple's own) obsession with photography and blogging.
The "Basically" ad introduces a man who "basically" just got a "Mac," by which he means a Windows machine that has been styled to resemble a Mac. Though the knock-off in question isn't shown, the store and salesman of the PC are seen to be sleazy and low-rent, and take a clear shot at the lack of originality and imagination shown by most PC manufacturers in their clear imitations of Apple machines such as the MacBook Air, iMac and even the Mac mini. The Genius points out that real Macs come with a set of superior software and has to inform the consumer that what he has bought isn't really a Mac.
The ads mark a departure from Apple's most recent ads, which have largely focused on the iPhone and Siri in particular. The latest ads have also featured celebrities using iPhones and iPads, but the new ads dispense with star power in favor of light comedy.
The emphasis on Macs and their creative abilities is reminiscent of many of the popular "Get a Mac" ads that featured actors Justin Long (playing the Mac) and John Hodgman (playing a PC) that are widely credited with encouraging switchers and further popularizing the Mac and OS X as a legitimate replacement for Windows in the minds of the public at large. The new ads are available on Apple's YouTube channel as well as its own website.