Steve Jobs marketing whiz slams new Apple ads

New Apple ads look like Dell, Best Buy spots

There's been a lot of vitriol about Apple's latest TV ads, aired for the first time during NBC's Olympics coverage - itself not without its haters.

Some of the comments made about the 'Apple Genius' ads include: 'embarrassing', 'cheap', 'cringe-inducing', and 'dreadful'.

Others have defended the Apple adverts from accusations that they make Apple users look inept and foolish, arguing instead that the new ads are not aimed at Apple fanboys and nerds but real people.

One person who you really should listen to about good or bad Apple marketing is former Chiat\Day creative guru and Apple marketing whiz Ken Segall, who worked with Steve Jobs at NeXT and on hisreturn to Apple - coming up with Think Different and even the very name 'iMac'.

What does Ken, who this year wrote a great book (Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success) about Apple's marketing genius, think of these ads?

He really doesn't like them.

"These ads are causing a widespread gagging response, and deservedly so. I honestly can't remember a single Apple campaign that's been received so poorly," says Segall on his Observatory blog.

"It feels like something Best Buy would do. Maybe even Dell. It doesn't have the feel of quality that has defined previous Apple advertising."

He slams the defence that the ads aren't as cool as usual because they are aimed at first timers as "horrible": "To defend the new Mac ads by saying 'Hey, they're not aimed at you' is just a naive view of advertising."

See also: Apple news and reviews

"How many great campaigns have you seen that appeal to one target group, but turn off everyone else? There's no excuse for a campaign like that.

"Apple's momentum is fueled by the enthusiasm of its core customers. The last thing it wants is to win new customers at the cost of looking ridiculous to its enthusiastic supporters."

"These spots are actually cast as if they're sitcoms. The spots try to make their points through comedy alone, with little sense of authenticity in characters or situations.

"The script for Basically just makes me squirm. It's like going to open mike night at the local comedy club."

"Therein lies another problem with this campaign. In the effort to show that the Genius is the most helpful guy in the world, Apple has created customers who, shall we say, are on the dim side.

"In past ads, Apple has shown "ordinary people doing extraordinary things," simply because Apple products are so easy to use. Now we have thick people who want to be better, but need a Genius to help. Not exactly flattering.

Segall wisely bats back any question that Steve Jobs would have rejected these new Apple ads.

"None of us can possibly know what Steve would do. Steve was a master marketer, but he was also perfectly capable of a lapse in judgment.

"It's unfortunate that this campaign is appearing now, nine months after Steve passed away, because the timing only fuels the argument that everything will crumble now that Steve is gone.

"The fact is, bad ads happen. And sometimes they happen to really good people.

"The tragedy would be if Apple acted like a politician and dug in its heels for the sake of appearances. I don't think that will happen. Apple is good at fixing mistakes - and this is one that could use a major-league fixing," Segall concludes.

Read the whole Segall review of Apple's new ads here.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Simon Jary

PC Advisor (UK)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?