2 Min Read
Apple’s ‘I’m a Mac’ Guy Switches Sides
“Hello, I’m a Mac.” “And I’m a PC.”
Those lines kicked off more than 60 TV ads from Apple starting in 2006. The ads pitted a young, creative type calling himself a Mac against a straight-laced businessman who plays the PC. Each spot highlights a feature of Mac computers through a funny interaction between the two in which the Mac gets the upper hand.
Adweek called the series the best ad campaign of the decade, and it helped launch the acting careers of Justin Long (the Mac guy) and John Hodgman (the PC guy). It’s a standout campaign in a long line of effective Apple marketing efforts and is credited with helping boost Apple’s brand awareness and sales growth.
Now, 15 years later, both actors are back in the Mac vs. PC battle. Hodgman revived his PC persona for an Apple keynote last fall. Justin Long, on the other hand, is back on TV in big budget commercials.
Only this time, the Mac guy is repping PCs.
“Hello, I’m a … Justin” Long says in the new commercials for Intel before calling out PC features in a tone similar to the original series.
What’s Your Archetype?
Apple’s original commercials show the power of archetypes in marketing. The best brands are built on one or more of 12 established archetypes – powerful symbols humans use to understand the world and tell stories. There’s the sage, the hero, the caregiver, the creator, etc.
Choosing your archetypes is a key branding decision (and a popular exercise in our Story ThinkTank sessions). Too often, brands try to stand for too many things at once. The real power of an archetype comes from letting it define what you are – and what you aren’t.
The genius of Apple’s ads is that by imposing a personality on the competition, it got two archetypes for the price of one. Now, Intel hopes to flip the script by updating those archetypes.