Chicago (IL) - The latest slate of TV ads for Apple's Mac computers attained a level of viewer interest that most companies only ever dream of, giving everyone a good laugh when the recognizable characters appear on screen. According to a story that first popped up on Radar Online, however, the computer maker with the most laughs may have actually been Microsoft. Reportedly, the commercials may have unexpectedly been damaging to Apple, with more people identifying themselves with John Hodgman's PC character than Justin Long's smug Mac personification.
While Long's highly recognizable character has catapulted his acting career, his contract with Apple will not be renewed. According to a representative for Long, Apple has "no long-term deal with him", adding that Long is "a movie star, not a commercial guy."
The replacement of Long is not a complete surprise. Ad critic Seth Stevenson ccovered the series of ads in June, for Slate, and criticized the commercials for being a bit over the top. "Mr. Mac comes off as a smug little twit," he wrote. Additionally, Apple perhaps needed to think of its potential buying audience a little more closely. A good portion of computer purchasers admittedly do more appropriately fit the geeky, business-oriented caricature portrayed by PC guy John Hodgman.
Despite the rumored preference of Hodgman, reports say that he will be back, as the nerdy PC, in future ads for Apple. Assumedly, then, the format of the commercials is not dying. Rather, Apple will just replace the Mac guy with someone a bit more identifiable to and likable by the average consumer.
Reportedly, Long's contract is still in effect, and he will appear in a new set of ads slated for the all-important holiday season. Come next year, however, viewers can expect a brand new guy to deliver the PC punchlines and say the immortal words, "I'm a Mac."