Mac: Don’t Think Different

I had just switched from ten years with Mac to PCs when the new barrage of annoying ads came out. You know, the ones where the beatnik guy represents all the cool stuff Macs can do, while the button-down guy represents the spreadsheets that’s all PCs can do (pretty ironic, considering the most common reason I ever heard for sticking with PCs was how many more games are available to them than Macs). But the sexism in the ads didn’t even hit me until today, when I saw this commercial.

It features the Mac and PC guys showing each other their home movies. Mac’s home movie walks out – it’s super-tall, super-blond, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen towering over both men in a pretty dress. Her job is to look hot, smile and beseech PC to show his movie while she stands there with her hands behind her back, twisting her body in a girlish way, and just generally acting like a 10 year old. PC’s movie walks out – it’s a guy in drag. So I went to YouTube to see if there were any other Mac commercials involving women, and this is what I found.

Mac and PC have formed a network, but Mac is so plug-n-play he’s also able to hook up with a Japanese digital camera represented by an attractive Japanese woman in a dress. This woman flirts cutely and girlishly with Mac. The only way it could hit the Asian women stereotype more firmly over the head is if she covered her mouth to giggle, too.

So Macintosh is profiling its computer buying audience as men; women are just the reward Mac is offering men who buy their computers. Well, I knew the Mac hardware and operating system was no longer what it used to be, but I am sorry to see the “Think Different” days of Macintosh are clearly over as well. Dell commercials, conversely, feature women using computers, selling computers, and never being the special prize that comes in the bottom of the box.


  1. SunlessNick says

    I see what you mean. I especially “like” how the Mac home movie is described as “real professional looking” – are we meant to think model or call girl?

    There’s a PC World advert in the UK which features a female customer, who goes in and specifies what she needs to a male shop assistant. He supplies a computer that meets her needs, she’s surprised at being able to get it for the price he offers, thanks him and goes.
    I like it because she goes in knowing exactly what she needs – she doesn’t have to have the computer-literate guy tell her – so it feels to me like she’s being presented as smart enough to go to the right place, rather than the place being so good it can even cater to her.

  2. Tomoko says

    I wouldn’t describe their interactions as flirting. They’re just exchanging pleasantries. “Nice to meet you” and all that (it’s hard to translate “yoroshiku onegaishimasu,” but it literally means “I beg your favor,” and is something you say when meeting new people), and he thanks her for the picture. I’m not sure about the giggling, but I thought she was laughing at the PC because he was clueless

    Granted, it is very annoying to see women treated as objects in this commercial, but I was just pointing out that as far as the language goes, they weren’t flirting.

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