Mac Scope

Undoing Years of Mac Evangelism?

Stephen Van Esch - 2002.06.19

Apple's latest campaign has been greeted with much relief and fanfare by the majority of the Mac press. "Think Different" has finally been put out to the pasture.

Beyond retiring a good, if old, campaign, "Real People" finally puts Apple on a collision course with the Windows world. No more sneaking around in the back alleys with a trench coat full of Macs for sale. No more evangelizing on our own time. LizaApple is finally stepping up to the plate and saying what so many of us have been saying for so long.

This is all good news. I'm a tad concerned, though, that a fair number of years of evangelizing may be undone.

Before we begin, your take on this opinion and on the Apple ad campaign depends on who you really think the Mac is designed for. There are two camps here.

One camp believes that the Mac is the computer that should have 90% of the computer market. It is a computer that should be used by the majority.

Why is this? Because Macs are stable and easy to use.

Why do they have to be this way to be successful? Because the average consumer doesn't really Aaronunderstand computers, so the less they have to fiddle with them, the better.

The other group believes that Macs are a vastly superior system. No arguments there. However, they also believe that using a Mac automatically places them on another level of the computing playing field.

These folks usually know enough about computers to decide to buy a Mac in defiance of the computer norms. This act of defiance, in their mind, means that they have a better grasp of computers and the computer industry.

They are not Joe or Jane Doe Sarahwithout a clue.

So here's the rub. The first group welcomes the "Real People" with open arms. Welcome to the world of Macs. Welcome to easier computing for the rest of us. The more the merrier.

For the second group, Real People is anathema. "Real People" for the second group paints Mac users as PC users that just couldn't hack it. They didn't have the brains to figure out a Wintel box (surely not that much of a challenge) and fled to the simpler to own and operate Mac.

"Real People" reinforces the idea that Macs are for the technically illiterate.

Apple has tried to lessen the "tech Markknow nothing" image with "Real People" by including a programmer and and IT manager. Too little to convince the masses?

I have no real opinion regarding this ad campaign. I kind of like the Mac minority status and wouldn't want the Mac market share to go above 15%.

Where do you stand on this? Will "Real People" hurt the Mac cause by making it look like the Mac is designed for computer illiterates? A simple computer for simple people? Or will it bolster Apple sales as people move in droves to the easy to use yet powerful Mac?

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Stephen Van Esch is the founder and president of the E-learning Foundry, an online training resource for Mac users. Steve loves the Mac and is doubly bilingual, since he's also fluent in Windows and French.

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