My Turn
My Mac Magazine #31

Lets get right down to it, shall we? I’m sick of the “Work The Web” television ads that Lotus Notes has been running for close to a year now. Sick and tired of it. Dennis Leary, who I used to really enjoy as a stand- up comedian, is really getting on my nerves.

Dennis, shut up and get a life! Or better yet, take a good role in a major motion picture rather than the lame seen-it-a-dozen-times-already roles you so much like to play. (Judgement Night and Two If By Sea) You want to pretend to be cool by wearing a leather jacket and smoking non-filter Camels, fine. But stay out of my back yard (the Internet) talking about that which you are completely ignorant of.

Now let’s look at Lotus Notes. “Work The Web”, their ads reads. What an idiotic slogan. How about “Work The TV” or “Work The Radio”? Does that make sense? I don’t think so. In fact, it sounds pretty stupid. Just like the ads.

Lotus, an IBM company, seems to want to make everyone who is not “Working The Web” look like a moron. Is that what you really want? To create a whole advertising slogan that depicts the people you are trying to reach look like a bunch of idiots and simpletons? One older lady announces in the latest ad: “I just sent my first e-mail!” Rather than celebrate a new user joining the computer world, as well as a new Internet user, Lotus would rather ridicule her, painting her as someone who is not only wasting “valuable” time by not “Working The Web” while online, but a stereotypical invalid too old to understand what she is doing. I have watched the ad ten times now, and that is my conclusion.

Many Mac users have expressed their disappointment in the “Think Different” ad. I have read numerous writings that seem to have expected more from Apples newest advertising campaign. That the ad was not “hard hitting” or that it “Doesn’t showcase Mac OS 8 at all!” Many of My Mac’s own writing staff have sent me just such thoughts via e-mail. They are not happy. So, I have downloaded the ad myself, and after viewing it a few dozen times, I am ready to render my opinion.

I love it. And I think it is one of the best Apple ads of all time.

Now let me explain why.

First, besides James Earl Jones, Richard Dreyfuss has one of the best voices for this type of ad. People recognize it. He speaks clearly and with passion. His is a neighborly tone, easy to listen to and enjoy. (He is also one of my favorite actors, so that helps.)

But what is the ad saying?

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules. And they have not respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About
the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.

And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Fade to the Apple logo, and the “Think Different” slogan.

People, that is an award winning ad, with the right message to the
masses. It also celebrates not only the achievements of some of the world’s greatest people by simply showing them for a brief moment, but also ties Apple (and thus the Macintosh) into greatness. Without saying it. Without getting in everyone’s face and insulting people.

What more could you want?

Let’s compare the Lotus ad I was ranting about at the beginning of the article with the latest Apple ad, and see what we come up with.

Lotus makes people look dumb and stupid, by either portraying them as stereotypes or simpletons. It starts off with nauseating quick cuts to four people in three seconds saying “The Internet / create a new utopia / to make us all smile / we’ll fix everything wrong with the world / that’s right” at which point Dennis Leary (sitting on a couch wishing he had a smoke) says “Stop the (unknown word, even after playing it ten times) before I get sick” The meaning to me here is that a utopia, people smiling, and fixing the world’s problems are enough to make Dennis, and Lotus, sick. Dennis then goes on to groan, be sarcastic and nasty, and finally start yelling at people. Until some guy gets on bragging about how he made/saved a billion dollars for a company.

Apple celebrates the human spirit, pointing out the fact that people are all different. And that it is in our differences, from Martin Luther King Jr. to John Lennon to Jim Henson that make us great. It hints that being different is not a bad thing, but something to be cherished and celebrated. A noble statement, indeed.

Lotus uses an off-pitch, hard-to-listen-to guitar, industrial clanging, and white noise sound that’s like three different stereos playing at equal volumes in a steel factory. Very grating on the nerves.

Apple has a slight dramatic crescendo buildup that leads into a relaxing, thought provocative, solo piano with a very mild mix of strings in the background. Very relaxing.

So, Mac user, which of these ads represent you? Which company did the better job to convey what is important to you? If you were working at either company, which ad would you want to represent you, your thoughts, your ideas? Which of these ads makes you proud to use their product? Which ad would make you want to buy a product from that company?

Of course, Apple could always get some neon-colored vans, pretend to drive them all over the world, and dance to 70’s disco music while showcasing Mac computers. Is that more to your liking?

Think about it.

Think Different.

Tim Robertson (

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