Some Brief Thoughts About Apple’s MacBook Air ‘Stickers’ Ad

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Yesterday Apple released a new ‘Stickers’ ad for the MacBook Air. I found it interesting for a few reasons.

  • Bangs and dents mean these things get used. It emphasizes the reliability of the MacBook Air by showing that some of them have scuffs and scrapes. It’s rare in that it shows Apple products in a non-retail-box condition. The only recent personalization example I can find is iPhones in cases, which are shown in its ‘Powerful’ ads — but those don’t show any actual ‘damage’. The way Apple products look after customization and ‘real world’ use isn’t often represented in Apple ads. As Jeff Carlson points out, these are likely someone’s real machines.
  • It doesn’t take design too seriously. The choice to show the stickers, as well, is a nod to the fact that people customize and ‘profane’ the clean industrial look of their Apple stuff with personal touches. I don’t think Apple was unaware of this — MacBook stickers are super popular (I used to run with a Batman). But the willingness to ‘bless’ them with an appearance in the ad and a special section on its site sends a distinct message.
  • This is the first MacBook ad in a long while. Though Apple had a 30th Anniversary spot for the Mac on the whole, the MacBook itself has taken second seat to Apple’s much larger iPhone and iPad business. Raising the profile of the MacBook acknowledges that the Mac still accounts for over 13 percent of the PC market and it’s growing faster than the rest of the market combined. It also assures people buying iPhones that there is a computer out there from the same company that they can move to from whatever they’re using now.
  • No screen. This is the first ad in recent memory that never shows the screen of an Apple product. I’m not sure what that means, maybe nothing, but it makes for an interesting visual.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent ad and a fresh voice for Apple. They’ve been making some changes in the ad department, having a more direct hand in the creative aspects of some of these spots, and it’s showing.