Thoughts On Apple’s New Genius Ads
Last night, during the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics, Apple aired three new Mac-centric commercials (1,2,3) that center a helpful Genius Bar employee, coming to the aid out confused members of the public with their questions and computer problems.
They’ve come in for some serious criticism.
While I agree that they aren’t Apple’s best ads, especially when it is running the popular celebrity Siri commercials to push the iPhone 4S, I believe the new Genius spots deserve more credit than they currently receiving. I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, but I will state my reasons below.
Firstly, the adverts move away from feature overviews on concentrate on building a brand around Apple’s software products. You will notice that the Genius Guy (as I will call him) refers to iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband and Keynote in more than one of the three spots. To me, this is relevant in the fact that all of the above applications are present across all of Apple’s smartphone, tablet, and computer products — consumers will recognise them if they own an iPhone or iPad and think: ‘So, I can use them on a computer too?’
Secondly (and building on the first point), the ads were aired at a peak time in the US. In America, NBC delayed showing the opening ceremony so that it could pull in a bigger audience later in the afternoon, a time where mums and dads are returning from work and kids are watching along with their friends and family — a huge demographic that Apple needs to work harder on to tempt them away from the Windows PC.
Thirdly, with mums, dads and kids watching, the ads are not for me (and most of the people that are likely to be reading this). I buy Macs because I love the design, the specification, the way the OS operates and the apps available to me. Others want to know how to print a postcard, create a presentation or edit a movie — normal everyday stuff. These people are asking the questions that the Genius Guy can answer and there are millions of more people like them all over the world.
Ultimately, Apple is telling people watching these adverts that it is there for them. Got a problem? Come and see us and we can show you exactly what you need to do. Apple does this better than any company, so much so that others are adapting their retail strategies to be more like it.
Another thing that might be worth noting is the guy who buys a computer ‘that looks like a Mac.’ This is occurring more and more with Apple products, people think they are getting something that they aren’t. In fact, the company recently forced Samsung to reveal documents that stated Best Buy customers were returning their Galaxy Tabs because they thought they were getting iPads. Different product, but the reference is a definite attempt to highlight that.
I was never a fan of the Mac vs PC adverts, so I can sympathise why many people don’t like these. However, by withdrawing myself from Apple’s pitch, I see see that these Mac ads weren’t aimed at me, but were focused on getting the less computer-savvy among us over to an Apple Store, where Apple’s employees (and Geniuses) drive the hard sell, or on to the website — where the product pages do an excellent job of selling the company’s range of desktops and notebooks.