Apple's greatest ad star now says you should buy a PC

Justin Long, he of the seminal "Get A Mac" campaign, takes Intel's money to mock MacBooks. Is this a good strategy for Intel? Especially as Long has already shilled for Huawei.

screen-shot-2021-03-17-at-8-35-51-am.png

Telling a Long tale?

Screenshot by ZDNet

Actors. You never want to believe them too much.

When you suddenly discover who they really are -- flawed people just like you -- the pain may be too great.

I can imagine, then, that several Apple fanpersons across the world are weeping into their long beards on seeing Justin Long, the very symbol of Apple's greatest times, turn on the company for a few shillings more.

Should you be old enough to recall, Long was the youthful, relaxed embodiment of the Mac who mocked John Hodgman's Bill Gates in the seminal "Get A Mac" campaign.

Now, Intel has paid him what one can imagine is more than a few bills to spit on everything Apple stands for. Well, its latest MacBooks, at least.

In a series of new ads, Long claims he's "just a real person." We know that's inaccurate. He was surely only hired for his previous advertising exploits which were, in their way, quite unreal.

Still, here he is pointing out so many of the MacBooks' flaws. Their inflexibility, for example.

Or their allegedly poor gaming capabilities.

Or their utter lack of imagination.

How about their lack of a touchscreen?

There's even their sad ability to only allow one monitor to be plugged in.

Those MacBooks really are awful, aren't they? Why would anyone ever buy one?

Each argument is, of course, quite sound. Even if the underpinning is Intel's anger about Apple creating its own M1 chip and suddenly leaving Intel outside.

ZDNet Recommends

The best laptops: Our recommended models for every use case and platform

New year, new laptop? These are the devices that should be at or near the top of your shortlist.

Read More

Still, I worry.

Is Long really the best presenter for a company trying to look brave, sprightly, and not hurt at all? The Get A Mac campaign ended 11 years ago. How many of those who want to convert to the PC way remember him at all?

Worse, Long has already snorted at Apple before. Four years ago, he became the spokesman for, oh, Huawei. Does anyone remember that foray into the resistance?

Moreover, how often do famous tech spokespeople switch brands to even greater success?

Remember Paul Marcarelli? He was the nice man in glasses who kept saying "Can you hear me now?" on behalf of Verizon. He reappeared as the frontman for Sprint. Did that go swimmingly?

Marcarelli then went on to complain that life in corporate America made employees feel dispensable. Which is surely true.

But does it make famous spokespeople more persuasive, wherever they go and whatever they say? I have my doubts.