Writing for the New York Times, John Schwartz noted the proliferation of Switch ad parodies and homages on the Web in a new article entitled “Apple’s quirky ads evoke parodies of themselves.” (Registration required)
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Apple continues to produce the spots, which show regular folks who have migrated from PCs to Macs in all walks of life. All follow the same format — a stark white background, distinctive music and the testimonial of a user (or users) who have switched from other platforms to the Macintosh.
The ads have also featured celebrities ranging from pro skateboarder Tony Hawk to hip-hop pioneers De La Soul and renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma. Some ads, like bleary-eyed teen Ellen Feiss and her story of how her PC ate her homework, have generated their own cults of personality through the proliferation of fan sites and unlicensed merchandise like t-shirts and coffee mugs. Apple’s overseas operations have begun to get the message out as well — Apple Japan features its own series of Switchers, too.
Most of the parodies borrow unabashedly from the look and sound of Apple’s ads, though in some cases the messages can be quite different. Schwartz pointed to one set that features caricatures of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Dell’s irritating teenaged “Steve” spokesman as unlikely Mac converts; another simply shows a claymation monkey shrieking. An American expatriate now living in Canada used the ads to explain why he switched nationalities, and some ads have even been turned back on Apple itself, noted Schwartz.
That’s not all, either. The Switch ads have also drawn the attention of Apple’s competitors, said Schwartz, who noted similar testimonials posted briefly to Microsoft’s own Web site. “The problem was that they were fakes; the pictures of the people came from stock-photo houses, and the stories were written by marketing people. After being widely criticized last month, Microsoft removed the pages from its site,” he said.