(Re)Creating An Image

(Re)Creating An Image
The “Think Different” campaign arrived on September 28. Its impending arrival was anticipated by almost all with anxiousness equaled to the birth of a child. In many ways the campaign is like childbirth; wonderment, doubts, anxiety, hope, and prayers. I felt all of those emotions as I watched the two spots unfold.

Below is my analysis based on some standards the advertising industry I’m sure asks itself.

Concept- A
The idea of showing all of these great and or unique thinkers is a reminder of Apple’s past glory. Reminding everyone which company gave the majority of us the ability to use computers. I still shudder thinking back when I took a college computer course and trying to remember the various DOS prompts (by the way, I failed the class, luckily the four credit “F” never appeared on my transcript. A true Mac user before I even knew it.).

Timing- D
I’m sure some of you are asking, “How can you give such a low grade after praising the first”?. It wasn’t difficult. Advertising is much like opening a business; your success is based upon three things: location, location, location. In advertising the three keys are: timing, timing, timing.

Putting such high level, esoteric thinking requires an audience capable of
understanding such abstract thoughts. The average age watching “Toy Story” was three to fourteen!! It doesn’t take a whole lot of brain cells to see the program’s audience did not match the commercial. To back up my opinion, I used my students as a test group. I asked them to watch the movie and tell me if they saw any memorable advertising (I teach seventh and eighth graders). Out of over 110 potential viewers not one remembered either of the commercials. Guessing that ABC charged around $350,000 per spot, that figures to be $700,000 down the tubes. Looked upon another way, Apple said they lost $500 per clone, that equals about 1,400 Power Computing machines sold instead of Macs.

Execution- too early to tell
The “Think Different” campaign is said to be worth 15 million dollars. Then where is the rest of it? I have heard that a few billboards were put up in a couple of cities. Why aren’t the TV ads being played again? A special ad for the Super Bowl is one thing but this is ridiculous, to say the least.

If I were Steve Jobs, I would be playing these commercials during programs that adult audiences not only watch but are using critical thinking skills.The three programs that fit this criteria are: Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Sixty Minutes. Since Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune are syndicated this would require the purchasing of local time. The top 100 markets would cover the vast majority of the population. The average cost, $500 per minute. The commercials could be easily cut to 30 seconds without losing any punch. All three of these programs are shown during the dinner hour in virtually all markets. The entire family would be exposed. A natural, since the Mac is a family computer. (Editor’s Note: On 10/29/97, the Mac ad was aired on Jeopardy.)

This Month’s Commercial
This month’s commercial is the type of ad I would have liked to have seen
during “Toy Story”. The ad is targeting students and their parents.

“Dad Figured It Out”
Scene: Several elementary school age children are sitting on an old-fashioned porch. One boy in particular anxiously paces back and forth across the porch while another student peers through the window. A father is sitting at a desk reading a Macintosh “Getting Started” manual while plugging in some cables. The camera switches back to the window “spy” as he reports the progress.

“It doesn’t look good. All the wires are plugged in.”

“I don’t get it, he always asks for help.”

The dad is on camera now reading the manual out loud, “Press the POWER key (marked with a triangle in the upper right corner) on your keyboard. “Hmmmmm.” The dad presses the key and the Macintosh guitar chord sound acknowledges his effort.

The camera changes to show the view looking in from the window. The “Welcome to the Mac OS” screen can be seen along with the dad standing up in a “Rocky” pose, his arms extended above his head saying, “No problem.”

The window spy backs away from the glass, turns towards the disappointed boy and remarks, “Tough luck, Timmy.” The disappointed boy bows his head, then raises it and mutters, “I don’t get it. We’ve had the VCR for three years and I always have to fix the clock for him.”
The screen darkens and the phrase “Think Different” appears, then the large Apple logo underneath it.

Rambling Thoughts
Well, after several months of wishing and drooling I was finally able to buy a Power Mac. After some serious negotiating with my spouse, and the desire of a fellow teacher who bought my Performa 475, I’m now the proud owner of a Performa 6360. I had spotted the unit on a clearance table at Sears for $800. The 15 ” monitor I found at a Circuit City for a measly $100. Other than a miserable experience dealing with 7.6.1 mangling my express modem file (I went back to 7.5.5) all is well. I feel like Hans Solo after getting the Millennium Falcon up to hyperspeed. Now all I have to do is get more RAM and some L2 Cache and I’ll be set.

Apple announced another quarterly loss on October 15. I was disappointed to see how large it was even after the Power Computing purchase. OS 8 sales along with the quarter being the big purchase time for schools should have made the loss close to 100 million, rather than the 160. Sales were down another large percent from last year. Once again it shows that Apple better start hitting the ads hard or there won’t be enough Christmas sales to save the company long term.

I just discovered a new (old) freeware program called StickyClick by Steve Zellers. Its been around since 1992, and it’s awesome! StickyClick aids menu selection by keeping the window open with one simple click without having to hold down the button. What a great extension! Thank you, Steve.

Enjoy the month everyone, and don’t forget to send your comments.

Mark Marcantonio (MarkMarc@aol.com)

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