If I get the gist of the three latest TV spots, Apple has Geniuses in place who simply love helping people. It’s not just a job for these people – it’s a lifestyle. So new users shouldn’t worry about their switch to a Mac, because Apple will help them prepare home movies on an airplane, tell them about how iPhoto can create photo printouts of their new baby (whose birth they’re essentially ignoring), and tell them that you… basically haven’t actually purchased a Mac? Okay, I’m not so sure about that last one.
I say them, of course, because sites like Daring Fireball have also been pointing out that these ads are not for the more passionate Apple fans – heck, they’re not even for current owners of Macs. They’re for switchers; folks who haven’t experienced Apple Magic (so to speak).
I think the ads are funny, and I don’t really take them too seriously, but they don’t seem to be sending the best message about Macs, or even Geniuses. Making sure people feel like they’re being taken care of is an Apple strength, but it isn’t the Apple strength – not by a long shot. What about hardware quality and design, tightly integrated software, in-store hardware and software support, and a gigantic and thriving App Store?
In their attempt to provide a laugh, I think these ads have strayed too far and make their potential customers (or current users) out to be rather stupid, or at the very least, highly distracted. It’s one thing to say “oh, let me help you with that, Mr. Brown!” and another to say “hey, how about we worry about your impending offspring first, and I’ll explain the coffee table books to you afterwards?”
The magical elements introduced in iPad and iPhone ads that help you do more than you ever thought was possible on a mobile device, or even Apple’s “it just works” reputation, are absent. Instead, Geniuses are just made out to be very competent Geek Squad members dressed up in blue. I wouldn’t go so far as to say these ads will damage Apple’s reputation, but I don’t think they’re doing the company any favours.