Tuesday, July 16, 2002

A good rant today by video veteran Charlie White in the Digital Media Net newsletter regarding Apple Computer's latest 'testimonial' ad campaign:

Ahh, that ad campaign. Back when I was a promotions producer for ten years, various management types would regularly attempt to insinuate themselves into the ad creation process. I could always tell just how creatively bankrupt any one of these clueless morons were by the frequency of their suggesting a testimonial campaign. It would come up with exasperating regularity, like a hiccup. Yeah, let's do testimonials, where everyday people get up there and tell the viewers about their experiences, thus coaxing reluctant customers into the tent. That'll work, yeah. Well no, it won't. Not once did I bow to that pressure and produce a lame-brained testimonial ad campaign. I don't think testimonials, no matter how well-executed, have ever worked. I think it's a sign of desperation, creative bankruptcy, and ineptitude. When it comes to Apple's idiotic new spots, I think I'd rather Think Different.

This is an excellent point. The whole Mac vs. PC issue is frankly no longer an issue, except perhaps when it comes to digital video. Just a couple of months ago one of the PC salesmen at CompUSA came to talk to me about the G4's and DVD Studio Pro, basically saying he was junking his entire PC system to go to the Mac for DVD creation purposes. And a regular DV Magazine contributor tells me that most of the really original content he's seeing from indie producers these days is being done on Macs. Great.

But, having said that, Apple doesn't make the fastest machines out there—and they should. Even more striking to me is that as QuickTime ascends—last year something like 100 million people downloaded QuickTime 5 software—Apple isn't capitalizing on the gains. 90% of those downloads were for Windows users. And yet, when I talk to many Windows users, many still think that QuickTime is just an Apple application, that you can't use it for Windows. Now that is an issue Apple could use in a productive ad campaign—and one, I don't mind saying, that I emphasize in my new book on digital movies (coming out this Fall). Apple should be pushing QuickTime as the tool with which to attract new users to their excellent digital video and content-creation computers. Not just printing testimonials from over-worked IS people who have switched from PCs to Macs....

White goes on:

But for us, the content creators, all this desperate behavior seems so unnecessary. We don't care how many PC users are lured into the Mac fold. We don't care that the market share for Macs is still hovering around 3 percent and will always be thus. For us, what really matters is that we can get our work done with these lovely content creation tools. What we really want from Apple is to stop blowing smoke at us and come up with some faster machines. Machines that can blow away the fastest PCs, which is not something that is possible right now. Meanwhile, I'm hoping Apple will toss its idiotic testimonial ads and call a halt to its lame media strong-arm tactics. It's just unbecoming for such an innovative and classy company.

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