Those Awful Apple Olympic Ads? Eliminated!

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Mayday, indeed.

You know those new Apple ads that began running during the Olympics, featuring an Apple “genius” helping out clueless Apple users in completely Contrived situations? Gone. Eliminated. Expelled.

Mashable reports that Apple’s ad agency, TBWA\Media Arts Lab, says that short run the first weekend of the Olympics was the intention all along. But it’s hard not to think that the storm of negative reaction had a lot to do with the ads getting tossed almost as fast as those slacker badminton teams.

By many viewers’ estimation, the ads, including the “Mayday” spot above, made Apple users look like idiots, something that clearly didn’t fit Apple’s brand. That ad, for instance, got 241 “likes” and 1,867 “dislikes” on YouTube.

Still, regardless of whatever face-saving excuse is being offered today–who can really believe a multi-spot campaign with a new recurring character was planned to run only a few days?–it’s to Apple’s credit that it spiked the campaign before it did any more damage. The twin themes of Macs being easier to use and Apple offering great customer service are fine fodder for ad campaigns–but separate ad campaigns, not mashed up into one frenetic, unrealistic set of spots.

One set of bad ads won’t hurt Apple much, but like few other companies, Apple must maintain its image as the elegant and cool alternative. It’s pretty clear execs decided these ads didn’t do the job.

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