Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New Mac/PC ad: "Misprint"

The "Get a Mac" series of ads are also by TBWA\Chiat, aka Media Arts Lab. Per my comments to the previous post, I'm not much a fan of the Chiat style of ads that call attention to themselves, rather than to the product or brand. (I've also referred to this as "mascot advertising", elsewhere).

Partly because of the domineering influence of S. Jobs, and partly dumb luck, Chiat has had some amount of success in its Apple advertising. The iPod silhouettes are of course a mascot, but they are 1) iconic in their non-specificity (note that they change with each refresh of the campaign); and 2) representative of the actual product in relationship to the consumer, i.e. you + iPod = this dancer.

The dumb luck of course was in the original casting of obscure* author John Hodgman in the role of "PC" in the now long-running series of "PC vs. Mac" commercials. (The ads themselves also work both in that the mascots are stand-ins for products, and that they are engaged in an actual discussion about the value proposition for the consumer.)

The series would likely not have continued much past its original run without Hodgman (and, in my opinion, Justin Long, whose straight man has become increasingly understated almost to the point of motionlessness), who has leapt through hoop after comedy hoop without faltering. (The last round did begin to strain the limits--as writers attempted to communicate in 30 seconds the comedic impact of Vista users downgrading to XP.)

In this latest ad (launched last night), Hodgman nails the peeved eyeglass adjustment like a 1950s television comedy veteran.

Nails it.

*Remember that at the time he had contributed perhaps a handful of pieces to "This American Life", had written for McSweeney's and Men's Health magazine, and not a whole heck of a lot else. His casting came on the heels of his insanely successful book tour appearance on The Daily Show--before he was selling many actual books.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Hodgman will be providing voice talent to the upcoming film version of Neil Gaiman's Coraline.

Hodgman will play a distant father. I had envisioned someone with more menace, like Jim Broadbent, or even (for American audiences) Greg Kinnear.

Coraline, a children's fantasy novel, isn't gory, but it is the most terrifying children's book I've ever read.

I was really hoping they'd give the film to Dave McKean (Mirrormask).

Instead, Vinton Studios gave it to Henry Selick. So, I'm sure the animation will be obsessively perfect, and the emotional core of the story eviscerated. And with the soundtrack by They Might Be Giants, I suspect the movie won't be as terrifying as the book now.