So, I’m Trying Not to Hate the New iPhone Commercials

by James R. Stoup Oct 22, 2007

Some of the funniest commercials I’ve ever seen have come from Apple’s “Get A Mac” series. Featuring John Hodgman as PC and Justin Long as Mac, these commercials are 30 second shots of of biting humor and sarcastic jibes. If you haven’t seen them, please check them out on the Get A Mac section of Apple’s website. It is widely accepted by all of humanity that the funniest commercial of the lot is the “Security” one. However, you are of course welcome to make up your own mind as to which is funniest. Everybody has a right to be wrong.

Regardless of which you think is most amusing, you can’t really argue the fact that the ads are humorous. Perhaps a bit smug, yes, but humorous nonetheless. In fact, this ad campaign seems to be much more successful than Apple’s previous attempt, which seemed to go up in a cloud of innuendo-laced smoke. Ah Ms. Feiss, we miss you. Anyway, getting back to the matter at hand and all that, we arrive at Apple’s newest ads for the iPhone.

Since these are fairly new, you might have missed a few, so please take a moment and catch up on the new iPhone ads. No really, it’s okay. Go watch them, I can wait.

So you managed to get through all of them, right?

No? Uh…at least one?

Okay, you watched at least one. Did you laugh?

No? Good, they aren’t really supposed to be funny. They are meant to be thoughtful “real life” stories of people using their iPhones. Which is great and all, if you like that kind of thing. After all, they are very well done, and they tell interesting stories, and so, I suppose one would call them a success.

Okay, not really. I hate these commercials. A lot. I keep watching them, hoping that they will change my mind, but they don’t. The root problem is that I don’t care. I don’t care that you used your iPhone to snap a picture of a serial killer, posted it to flickr, got his address, found it on google maps, drove over there, called the police, and then filmed the entire SWAT team raid so you could post it on YouTube. I’m sorry, I just don’t care. I’m really happy that you are using your iPhone in hip and creative ways. I’m thrilled that you have so integrated it into your life that it is now part of you in a way that can only be described as “Borg-like.” But I don’t care. Whatever you are doing, or not doing, with your phone is irrelevant to me. I’m going to buy one because I have way more money than sense, not because you do great stuff with your iPhone.

Furthermore, every time I see one of the commercials all I can think about is what a wasted opportunity this was. Come on, admit it. You know you would much rather see one of these commercials start off with

“Hello, I’m an iPhone.”

“And I’m a Blackberry.”


See, you’re smiling already.


  • The I’m a Mac commercials only work because of Windows’ (somewhat exaggerated) reputation for poor security, and generally poor user experience.

      Among the buisness crowd which Apple would presumably be trying to woo by insulting Blackberry, Blackberry has an excellent reputation.

      It would be kinda like questioning the military record of a war-hero who was awarded the purple-heart. Unthinkable and sure to backfire.

    simo66 had this to say on Oct 22, 2007 Posts: 78
  • I’m not saying that they should be as critical of Blackberries et al, rather that they should use humor instead of drama.

    James R. Stoup had this to say on Oct 22, 2007 Posts: 122
  • I’m with you on that one, but the only reason the I’m A Mac commercials work is that they are so critical.

    simo66 had this to say on Oct 22, 2007 Posts: 78
  • Whaa?

    Windows/MS is a dominant, convicted monopolist. You can make fun of them. (It’s theater.)

    You can’t attack a good, legitimate company and get away with it. (It’s theater.)

    End of story.

    starman4 had this to say on Oct 22, 2007 Posts: 5
  • I quite like Stefano’s, it comes off slightly self-deprecating.
    I loathe Elliot’s on the other hand. Pile of self-indulgent drivel.

    At their worst, I agree, these sorts of adverts emulate the experience of having to sit next to the really dull person in the pub and being forced to listen to their completely tedious anecdote.

    At their best, they can be as fun as listening to someone recount something genuinely interesting that happened to them.

    These adverts mostly fall somewhere in between.

    However, an example in this format like James’s here, animatedly told, would be hilarious!

    Benji had this to say on Oct 22, 2007 Posts: 927
  • It would be kinda like questioning the military record of a war-hero who was awarded the purple-heart. Unthinkable and sure to backfire…

    Tell that to John Kerry (re: Swift Boat Veterans).

    But, yes, you are right to assume that targeting Blackberry would just give the iPhone a black eye when the first columnist printed a “Here’s Why the iPhone Sucks for Business Users” article.

    Microsoft is everyone’s favorite whipping boy because they’re an easy target. A Blackberry comparison would totally backfire because it’s a good product that is used in ways the iPhone isn’t.

    Although there is a market overlap, the iPhone really targets a different smart phone user than the Blackberries. It’s arguably easier to text with a Blackberry and that’s the gist of the argument… a Blackberry may work better for those who text constantly.

    While the iPhone does email and texting, I believe most iPhone users don’t get an iPhone to do *all* their email from… More likely it’s bought as an accessory to their laptop.

    I know people who use Blackberries for all their email—they don’t even get email on their computers anymore. Typing on a touch screen is not conducive to that kind of usage.

    vb_baysider had this to say on Oct 22, 2007 Posts: 243
  • I had assumed from watching these that they are produced by at&t, not Apple, precisely because they are kind of blaaaah.  Is that not right?  Are these from Apple?

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 22, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • I was actually refering to the Kerry incident im my prior comment.

    simo66 had this to say on Oct 22, 2007 Posts: 78
  • Incidently.

    Give into your hate young skywalker.

    simo66 had this to say on Oct 22, 2007 Posts: 78
  • I agree, James. And, if you did something taking the piss out of them, don’t think you even need to identify any one competitor. Just have ads that highlight how iPhone is better than any phone.

    so it becomes:

    “Hello, I’m a cell phone”

    “And I’m an iPhone”

    Chris Howard had this to say on Oct 23, 2007 Posts: 1209
  • You see I’m not really sure that would work. For what they do, cellphones work pretty well. Sure they sometimes get out of range, but that has A)been done to death and B) the Iphone doesn’t really have an advantage in that department.

      For those commercials to work, the target has to have gaping flaws. The Iphone is a cellphone with additional features (or a smartphone with fewer features), so people wouldn’t buy the message that Apple has ‘fixed’ the cellphone.

    simo66 had this to say on Oct 23, 2007 Posts: 78
  • I have to say that I am quite happy with the touch screen for chats and medium length emails.  I find it to be responsive and not annoying.  I also find that I am more likely to carry it everywhere with me (unlike with a cell phone), even around the house (I’ll admit that my bedroom and office are on the third floor of my home).

    bluegirl had this to say on Oct 23, 2007 Posts: 19
  • Not every Apple TV commercial has to be funny. The Think Different aid campaign was thoughtful and not funny, but successful. If they continued the PC vs Mac theme with the iPhone, who or what would play the part of the PC, a black dumpy guy with a Blackberry?

    flyboy had this to say on Oct 23, 2007 Posts: 30
  • If you think the american “Get a Mac” ads are good ...
    please take a look at the british ads at

    My favorite is with MS Office

    zabrab had this to say on Oct 24, 2007 Posts: 1
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