What Were They Thinking? Apple’s Lousy Commercials

Apple Think DifferentApple’s stopped running a set of ill-received commercials it premiered during the London Olympics even before the games were over. Its ad agency, TBWA/Media/Arts Lab, insists the move had nothing to do with a wave of negative reactions on YouTube and a number of websites. The agency said the ads were only meant to run during the Olympics’ first weekend.

Let’s say I’m skeptical.

I’ve always liked Apple’s ads, but these were terrible. Watching them, I thought that someone without a sense of humor was mocking the company. But it turned out the ads were legit.

They portrayed an Apple Genius Bar employee instructing a customer on how to use a Mac. It was a strange sight. Isn’t Apple supposed to be all about ease-of-use?

Ken Segall, who produced some of the company’s most memorable ads, can’t remember any Apple campaign that was so lousy. This one made Mac users seem like, as Business Insider put it, “they can’t do anything without the help of an Apple genius.” Not a great way to make prospective customers feel warm and fuzzy.

Not Just the Message

But my disappointment is about more than the ads. The new generation of Macbook is a letdown, too. The Macbook Airs and Macbook Pros with Retina replace the MagSafe connector with a slimmer MagSafe 2. The new connector’s magnet is too weak to hold it in place. And, there’s a design flaw: The Macbook’s “T” shape makes it difficult to hold on your lap.

I don’t know what they’re thinking in Cupertino. I just hope the iPad Mini and new iPhone show they’re back on track.

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