Everyone thinks the new Apple “genius” ads are “dreadful,” BI’s Jay Yarow reported this morning.
(Everyone, that is, except for Jay, who thinks they’re “fine.”)
Well, I watched all three of the ads, expecting to be appalled. (Apple’s Siri ads are indeed appalling–not because there’s anything wrong with the ads…because there’s so much wrong with Siri. And yet Apple keeps shilling the product as though it’s flawless.)
And you know what?
The ads aren’t dreadful.
For several reasons, starting with the fact that Apple is now a mainstream consumer company.
Although many tech snobs forget this, mainstream consumers actually don’t give a crap about technology. What mainstream consumers care about is what they can do with technology. And these new ads are all about that.
(The Apple gadgets look slick in the ads, of course, but there isn’t so much as a single “spec” mentioned. All that is mentioned is what you can do with the gadgets.)
And then there’s the second reason the ads are great: The Apple “genius” who helps Apple customers figure out how to do things with their gadgets.
This particular Apple genius is smart, helpful, unthreatening, charming, young, responsible, articulate, funny–everything you’d want in an Apple genius.
The genius isn’t remotely intimidating, the way some techie people are.
He speaks English, not geek.
And he is super helpful: It’s all about helping the customer solve his or her problem without embarrassing the customer by making him or her feel like an idiot for having the problem in the first place.
In other words, the ads perfectly capture the ideal relationship between the ideal Apple genius and the typical mainstream consumer–someone who is intimidated by technology, doesn’t care about technology, and doesn’t want to be made to feel like an idiot for not understanding technology.
In that way, these ads are very much like the famous “I’m going over to Bobby’s house–they’ve got a Mac” ads of a prior generation–ads that made fun of the absurd complexity and geekiness of Microsoft and Intel machines.
Lastly, the ads send the message that Apple is more than a gadget company. It’s a relationship company. If you buy an Apple gadget, the ads say, you’re not just getting a gadget–you’re getting a gadget and an awesome genius like this one who will help you figure out how to use it. What other tech company does that?
In short, I love these ads. I think they’re brilliant.
So why does everyone else hate them?
Here’s one of the ads. Jay’s posted the other two here.
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