Mac or PC?
It’s a tale as old as time. Or, at least, a tale as old as thirty-five years ago, which can feel like the same thing in a world gone digital. Speaking of Justin Long… the Dodgeball actor and Connecticut native is best known for his Mac spokesperson’s role in the Mac ads from the early aughts.
But Long recently infused his career with a much needed, headline-grabbing touch of controversy – “switching sides” by appearing in a batch of pro-Intel PC ads called “Justin Gets Real.”
As an actor who hasn’t been in anything for a while, Long obviously needs to go where the money is. I can’t fault him for that. But what an odd choice from Intel. It’s one thing to be petty at the moment on Twitter—hey, many famous politicians have made a name for themselves this way—but it’s quite another to stew for 20 plus years and then hire the same guy.
In the ads, Long says he’s “just a real person making a real comparison between Mac and PC.” Ok, honey. This statement is fooling just about no one. Instead of making an honest comparison about Intel’s upgraded features vs. Mac’s quality assurance and ease of use, the ads take it back to high school insults – trolling Mac for its lack of color options and that Mac doesn’t offer Face ID login.
Intel’s new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, says that the Long ads are just a bit of “competitive fun.” Maybe. Or maybe they’re a very real response to Apple foregoing Intel chips for the first time since 2005.
Rumor on the street is that Intel is scrambling to make M1 Silicon chips that Apple will pick up for the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. This leads me to believe that the Long ads are more of a flex – sort of a statement to say “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” to the powers that be at Apple headquarters.
The train of thought behind the ads seems to be that if Intel can prove they pose a threat to Apple when Apple isn’t using their chips, maybe the corporate team at Apple will be more enthusiastic about stocking Intel again. More ready to replace their current Silicon chips made by TSMC with Intel’s M1 Silicon iteration.
The verdict is still out on whether Apple would really drop their long-term partnership with TSMC to go back to chips made by Intel. But Intel’s substantial manufacturing investment makes it pretty clear that this is what they think is going to happen. Or, maybe Intel would use the M1 chips to create more quality and security standards for Windows to rival Apple’s.
Let’s be real. No tech company blindly invests in a series of ads starring a minor celebrity that was once a spokesperson for their main rival for a bit of “competitive fun.” The only time I’ve ever encountered a company that was willing to fork over that kind of cash was when the manufacturers of Cards Against Humanity crowdfunded $100,000 to dig a giant hole in the earth in 2016.
Regardless, who is going to believe Long’s endorsement of Intel when he doesn’t even address the fact that he was once the spokesperson for Mac? Were the ads just an attempt to continue to be known as Apple’s main competitor? Only time will tell. The only thing we know for sure is that no new companies will be hiring Long to do ad-work anytime soon.
What’s your take on the new PC ads? Did Long’s presence in them convince you to switch sides?