The war without end: Mac vs. PC

Yikes! Intel has launched a new anti-Mac campaign. The nerve of those people—they signed Apple’s “I’m a Mac” guy to attack his former employer. This is war!

Actually, it’s only the latest battle in the Mac vs. PC war that’s raged for 38 years. It’s a war being waged on three fronts—technology, marketing and culture.

And guess what. Through all these years, Apple has almost always been the aggressor. Only rarely has the PC side felt threatened enough to push back.

So, what do we make of Intel’s new campaign? Hold that thought, because it’s best judged in the context of history—and a juicy history it is.

I might overlook some important moments, but I’ll give it my best shot.

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2020 holiday ad: Apple vs. Apple

Life can be so cruel.

Pity poor Apple. All year, its products compete head-to-head against those from other tech companies. But when its big holiday ad goes up, it must compete with itself—forever haunted by the Ghost of Great Apple Holiday Ads Past.

So how does the 2020 Tierra Whack ad compare?

Not particularly well. Thank you for the entertainment, Apple, but you forgot the parts that made your previous holiday ads so memorable.

You didn’t relate to the joys and sorrows that come with being human. You didn’t express the joy you get by helping people connect emotionally. You didn’t celebrate your core values, which are so relevant during the holiday season.

More specifically…

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HomePod mini: in search of the lost cord

Damn, HomePod mini looked pretty great in Apple’s unveiling last week.

They had me from the first image where it sat elegantly on the side table. Simple. Clean. Not a cord in sight!

It was my ultimate music-player-intelligent-assistant fantasy come true. A gorgeous device I could put absolutely anywhere.

Until it wasn’t.

Silly me. I made the unforgivable error of believing my eyes. At the very end of that scene, for just the briefest moment, came a glimpse of a cord trailing away from mini.

Nooooo!

From there, Apple took us on a winding path visually, with the vast majority of shots showing a “cordless” HomePod mini. A casual viewer could be forgiven for drawing the wrong conclusion.

Out of curiosity, I went back for a re-viewing.

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Ellen’s little people problem

America loves a good “fall from grace” story. At the moment, The Ellen Show is serving up an excellent one.

Public accusations from staff have been nonstop.

Sexual harassment. Bullying. Out-of-control managers. Toxic work environment. It’s a smorgasbord of nasty.

If true, there are but two explanations. Either the real Ellen falls way short of her lovable public image, or she empowered her managers and failed to oversee them.

In other words, Ellen is either a bad person or a bad CEO.

I’m not exactly an insider. But I did spend two months working in Ellen’s world producing JCPenney’s $5 million, five-part Ellen campaign on the 2012 Oscars.

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Every ad year has a low point

It’s that time again. We could talk about the best campaign of the year—but where’s the fun in that?

For your amusement, let’s plunge directly to the bottom.

I could ridicule the Liberty Mutual campaign for the reasons others have cited (and I will!). But I’m more curious about how an agency like Goodby Silverstein—long known for smart, award-winning work—could ever have churned out such dribble.

The obvious explanation is that Liberty Mutual is a terrible client.

There’s a saying in the biz that “clients get the advertising they deserve.” Bolstering this theory is the fact that the pre-Goodby advertising for Liberty Mutual (from agency Havas) was equally detestable.

However, this hardly excuses Goodby. What they’ve done for Liberty Mutual looks like a total surrender to somebody’s uncreative and amateurish instincts.

Whoever the culprit may be, this is a matter that demands attention from creative law enforcement.

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Sugarcoating the Apple agency layoffs

I am eternally grateful that no one ever asked me to write a PR release for a company in trouble.

It’s a thankless job, and nobody believes what you write—but write you must.

That’s why so many surrender from the start, dipping into a reservoir of classics like, “He’s leaving to pursue other opportunities.”

This was the challenge served up to the spokeswoman at Apple’s agency, Media Arts Lab, to explain the recent layoffs of 50 people.

Thankfully, she didn’t ask us to believe that those 50 simultaneously decided to pursue other opportunities. What she did ask us to believe was something equally absurd.

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