It is nice to see that Apple is still channeling Steve Jobs in this new ad campaign by TBWA/Chiat/Day. The “Intention” video is classic Apple. Like Apple’s products and its packaging, it feels elegant, devoid of fussiness and ostentation. It communicates simply, directly, softly. It doesn’t provide boastful descriptions of its own engineering prowess or gee-whiz features. In fact, it doesn’t show or name its products at all. It tells you how it strives to deliver what you want to feel when using Apple products. It’s all about you… your desires… your pleasure. If iMac was a guy, he’d have women swooning at his feet.
In an age when so much design is digitally generated and has the look of being manufactured, it is refreshing to see beautiful display type letters drawn freehand with chalk. Not the kind of hastily written “daily special” menus seen on chalkboards in neighborhood cafes, the chalk lettering of Brooklyn-based designer Dana Tanamachi recalls the lost art of early 20th century storefront sign painters with their mix of outline and script letters, decorative flourishes, and subtle shading.
Microsoft is taking the fight back to Apple with a series of commercials, by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, that spoof the Apple ads that spoofed it. The Apple ads, by TBWA/Chiat/Day, feature comedian John Hodgman portraying the sincere but dull office “everyman” extolling the PC while his tech-savvy, youthful friend, “Mac,” played by actor Justin Long, comments good-naturedly. Instead of ignoring the Mac ads and changing the subject, Microsoft found a Hodgman lookalike right in its own office – a program engineer named Sean Siler – and had him protest that Apple has reduced him to a stodgy stereotype in spots titled “I’m a PC”. The witty response, free of the usual corporate-cliche slogans, makes Microsoft seem surprisingly cool. To see one of the Mac ads that started it all, click to the next page.