image via CNNMoney
On Sunday evening, I spoke with an old friend who has worked as a talent agent in Southern California for nearly three decades. As our conversation turned to where the coolest and most sought-after commercial gigs are today, Apple was brought up - much to my surprise.
Although signs are starting to emerge that Apple is stepping up efforts to recruit major star power for their promotional campaigns, it's becoming clear why that strategy might be more relevant and necessary than we realize. And, luckily, the timing beautifully coincides with the end of the honeymoon for Snow Leopard. Basically, we've had one solid weekend to poke, prod, and play with Snow Leopard, and suddenly everyone is an expert... or a critic.
A report by the BBC this morning calls Snow Leopard "a strange beast." Why? Mac users are beginning to notice how Apple opted to minimize colorful new bells and whistles and instead, emphasize major changes "under the hood." In the long run, the move by Apple bodes well for all, particularly, as the article notes, for third-party application developers who will certainly have a lot more to work with in the future than they've ever had before. Nonetheless, Snow Leopard isn't "sexy" enough to advertise itself the way, shall we say, the new line of alleged iPod upgrades likely will after Apple's media even next month.
As a result, Apple is expected to continue efforts to make the biggest star-studded pushes possible to help remind the masses just how cool Apple is. As our friends at PC World pointed out over the weekend, Apple has already recruited former Seinfeld star Patrick Warburton for two new "Get a Mac" ads.
The commercial, which is titled "Top of the Line" is a clear and obvious response to Microsoft's seemingly successful "I'm a PC" commercials which focus on the price difference between Mac and PC systems. In the latest ad, Warburton plays a "top of the line" PC, but when questioned about his capability of dealing with viruses and other PC-related headaches, he has no acceptable response, and the interested shopper, surprise surprise, decides to go with Justin Long, who of course is the "Mac."
It's funny stuff for sure... but it's also a very serious component of a much larger advertising campaign that, according to my sources, has only just begun. Although there is no word yet as to the other "big names" reportedly in talks for Mac ads, more celebs are on the way to help give Mac a big push going into the holiday shopping season. According to TNS Media Intelligence, Apple spent $264 million on television ads in 2008, 71% more than Microsoft. But in the first six months of this year, Microsoft put up $163 million for commercials - that's twice Apple’s spending.