PermaLink Apple rules the world08/15/2007 02:26 AM
Have you noticed that in commercials, even those not actually about technology, more than half the computers you see are Apples?

I'm not the first guy to notice this or talk about it, and probably won't be the last, but have you noticed that whenever an advertiser has a commercial in which a computer is being used, more often than not (and more often than their market share would reflect) that computer is an Apple? Specifically, an Apple laptop?

What really got me tonight was that there was some local cable commercial for a Baltimore-area car dealer, where some excited couple was looking up used-car prices online or something, and they were using a MacBook Pro. If this has filtered down even to local ads, you have to figure there's something to it.

What occurs to me is this: most ad agencies are probably heavy (heavier than normal) with Mac people. Thus, when they need a computer as a prop, what do they do? Run down the hall to their "creative" people and borrow the first computer they see. In such departments, it's likely to be an Apple. Alternatively, and in particular with national ad agencies, they're not looking for the computer to distract from their basic ad message, so rather than use a chunk of marble sculpted into computerlike form, they go and get a MacBook or a MacBook Pro, perhaps cover over the logo, and shoot the commercial. Apples seem to lend themselves well to this because when you look at them, there's almost nothing outside the case to catch your eye except some innocuous USB and FireWire ports. Nothing to distract the viewer from paying attention to the product, whether it's buying stocks online, buying used cars online, or checking their risk of bladder cancer.

Apple nailed it: let's make our computers as low-key as possible.

Next time you're out at a computer store, look at most of the Windows laptops. Biggish hulking things, with blue buttons for the disk drive, lights for the wireless, the Bluetooth, the power supple, the battery, the keyboard, and practically everything else. Fan ventilation slots, DVD drives with logos all over them, and all sorts of other post-apocalyptic-looking crap.

Look at an Apple. Smooth case, interrupted only by what must be there: small power connector, USB plugs, FireWire plugs, and a smooth screen.

It's the difference between a modern washing machine and a 1948 Maytag wringer model. One is smooth white with just the bare minimum of controls. The other has levers and handles and logos and hoses and knobs sticking out of it everywhere.

Don't think that viewers aren't subtly distracted. Sure, maybe they're looking for a used car, but the next time they're out at the technology store, don't think that some part of them isn't thinking, "I want that computer that looks like... a computer."

Not one that looks like Optimus Prime on a lunch break.

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