At first I thought the new advertising campaign for Apple Mac, featuring Mitchell and Webb from Peep Show, was just slightly amusing. Then I realised that I was laughing not at the characters, but at the utter stupidity of the content on display. I honestly thought we’d got that Mac and PC thing out of our systems a few years ago, but it looks as though sneering consumerism is alive and kicking.
It’s based partly around the fact that Apple Mac computers tend to be used in the creative industries of music production and graphic design, examples of two occupations that suffer acutely from superiority complexes. The idea that the Apple is a superior experience is also a statement of identity, highlighting ones cool job that somehow transcends the trivial office environment of the sandwich man and the water cooler. The nature of the adverts in question being everything required to back up both of these statements.
Maybe that’s a bit mean. I know plenty of Mac users, Amoungst others Becki, Roger, Dickie and Peter, you know who you are. These people are amongst the most forward thinking people I have ever met, creatives operating at the top of their chosen field. I love you all and the Mac is most suitable for your work. But really, it gets on my nerves.
In the adverts Mitchell plays the geeky PC bloke in straight clothes, his dry humour adding the dour and realistic personality of a fairly average bloke. Webb on the other hand is the smug student type with the stupid GAP jeans, every inch the epitome of cool with the sarcastic suburban wit. Ironically, and this is where the advert falls down, it is Webb who is the dislikeable character, the selfish fashion victim who
looks down upon his PC friend. Spreadsheets? Surely not! I mean why do a
mundane job when you could buy a Mac and create music? Nice idea, but in
reality you’ll end up down the pub or watching Telly.
Personally I identify with Mitchell, a bloke at least trying to get by
in life without entertaining the faddish and gimmicky tedium that
surrounds us. I look at Webb, and think about the arrogance of fashion,
and the middle class obsession with product, design and cool. Grown up
people, adults, defining themselves through brightly coloured and shiny
gadgets, the latest technology from the must have and satisfyingly
overpriced brand. Essentially, the inanity of bling for farmers market
types. Every time I see one of those smug thirty something’s marching
through Shoreditch, with a Mac tucked under arm and a stripy scarf round neck, I feel the need to run up and stamp on this weeks trainers, then comb his fake scruffy hair as he lies on the pavement in pain.
‘There there Rufus, sorry about the retro Greenflash, but you’ll thank
me for this later’.
This campaign may have misfired. 25 Million people in this country now
look at those people with the other sort of computers and think, ‘Who
the hell do they think they are?’. In fact they probably don’t think
that at all, because unlike me and Mac users these are the people that
have the sense to turn their machines off at 5:30 and do something
interesting, like dogging for instance.
Lastly and most sadly of all, just like surfing and snowboarding, the Mac may just have become a parody of itself.