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Apple Thinks Customers Enjoy Feeling Stupid


The new Apple TV commercials have garnered some harsh criticism.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL If you've managed to catch some of the Olympic action on NBC (CMCSA) since it kicked off on Friday, you have probably seen the latest Apple (AAPL) ads, which made their debut during the Olympics opening ceremony.

In the series of three different spots, produced by long-time Apple ad agency TBWA (OMC), popular standup comedian Josh Rabinowitz stars as an Apple Genius Bar employee who helps out dopey customers in different situations.

In one, for example, a man's wife is about to give birth. Rather than fretting about taking her to a hospital, however, he wants to produce a photo greeting card to announce the birth. Rabinowitz the Genius employee aids him in making the card, and also sets the man's priorities straight by calling an ambulance for his wife.

Apple TV commercials have always been buzzed about, from the classic "1984" and "Think Different" series to the campaign for Siri, which features celebs such as Martin Scorsese, Samuel L. Jackson, and Zooey Deschanel. However, its new slate of ads has met with mixed reactions.

At CNET UK, with a headline that reads, "Apple's new adverts are far from genius," Joe Svetlik writes:

I think the problem is they portray Apple customers, or wannabe Apple customers in the case of the last one, as idiots. Is that really the image Apple wants to give off?

The ads also undermine one of the main selling points of a Mac -- that it's a complete doddle to use. The programs are supposed to be so simple you don't need someone, or a 700-page guide, to tell you how to use it. You just pick it up and get started.

Mike Flacy at Digital Trends concurred, saying that "two of the advertisements aren't very flattering of Mac owners and make them too inept to figure out simple programs like iPhoto or iMovie."

Not all commentators feel the same about the new Apple ads. Chris Matyszczyk of CNET points out that the people who are critical of the ads are techies who forget how "real people" have a different relationship with technology.

"Techie critics have fulminated that some of the programs in these ads are desperately simple to use. For them," Matyszczyk writes. "Real people haven't quite caught up yet. They still get confused. They still don't always know which button to push. Just as so many still don't know how to format Microsoft Word."

"The enjoyable purpose of these new Apple ads is to tell people that if you migrate from Windows to Mac, your life will be made far, far easier."

Of course, this is not the first time that Apple has come up with The-Customer-Is-Slow ads. Ad Week notes that the ads from the "Get-a-Mac" essentially played off of the same theme.

Here are the three new Apple spots. Watch and decide if you like them.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
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