There was a recent commercial that depicted a young redhead shopping for a laptop. The shopper is in search of a 17” laptop that costs under $1000. Any normal person would have shopped online for something like this, but that doesn’t translate into good television. So they showed the redhead walking into an Apple Store and cut to her exiting, as if she had entered through a revolving door and kept on going.
“Maybe I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person,” she mutters as she pulls away. The story ends with her in Best Buy giddy over scoring the laptop of her dreams for $699.99. The end.
Except it wasn’t. Some of the Mac lovers were so totally insulted. “They’re not telling the full story!” was the biggest complaint. They don’t have time to delve into a full comparison of service plans, operating systems and hardware. They gave the basics (17” screen, laptop, under $1000) and went from there. 30 seconds is just enough time to convince people not to bother with the Apple store, since you won’t find a computer that fits all three of those requirements. Therefore it’s not worth considering. As a Mac person, I get that.
I also get that no one wants to be told they paid too much for what they have. I know this from experience. It’s painful to see something I bought at the full price marked for less than what I spent. It actually hurts to see the same exact thing for so much less. You feel like you lost. You feel like a loser.
So then the Mac people come back with all of the reasons why their machine can kick the ass of the $699 Best Buy special. You have to do that to feel like you won. It’s why someone will ask for laptop or computer recommendations and there’s a 99.9% chance that at least one person will squeak in just to say “get a Mac.” Or worse, if someone is having issues with Vista, someone else will say “You should have bought a Mac.” As a Mac owner, I cringe a little when I read these. It really does come off as too cool even if I agree. It's not the message that's annoying, it's the “I told you so” tone. So now the person is expected to trash his or her computer and run to the Apple store? Junk it and start fresh? There’s a snideness--a smugness about the whole thing—a superior attitude because Mac people think they’re evolved and enlightened, as they sit on clouds high above the unwashed proletariat that bangs away at the any key while faced with the blue screen of death.
Part of the appeal of a Mac is just that. If everyone really did go out and buy a Mac, the “I’m cool and you’re not” selling point would cease to exist because the whole point of being cool is that there are others who aren't, and if everyone gets a Mac, then what? Some of the people buying Macs are doing so just so they can think of themselves as elite. I still remember the outrage people had when Apple switched to Intel chips. The purists were beside themselves. “Now it’s just another PC,” was the biggest complaint.
I enjoy my laptop. Most of the time it’s problem free. I don’t love everything about it, and I wouldn’t marry it, but it works. The beauty of this country is that we have choices—sometimes it’s overwhelming—but at least they’re there. It was a good commercial because it put the Mac people on the defense--it worked. It didn't even air that often and in no time people were all atwitter. Well it was an ad for PCs--a successful one after the countless "I'm a Mac" ads beat the hell out of Microsoft & Co. Mac owners: if you show that the commercial upset you, then the terrorists have won. Okay, no, but you've only proven their point about the stereotypes of Mac owners. If you want me to list some of the reasons why I prefer a Mac, then I’ll be happy to give them to you. If you go out to Best Buy (to buy a PC, yes I know they sell Macs too), there’s a 99.9% chance that I won’t follow you, screeching that you’re making a mistake--doing that is just not cool.