Remember those Mac vs. PC ads? Sure you do! Here’s a collection of like 20 of them, apparently in reverse chronological order and shoddily upgraded to widescreen by removing the tops of people’s heads. Can you watch the whole thing without the repetitive piano music causing permanent brain damage?
I have to say I don’t dislike these at all, and in fact I may even like them. There were enough of them that the repetition of any single one didn’t irritate, and only seeing one at a time makes Mark Mothersbaugh’s music manageable. Plus, they were a little amusing, and I like John Hodgman (humorist, writer, occasional actor) and I find Justin Long (voice of Alvin in the recent Chipmunk monstrosities) to be immensely tolerable, so it doesn’t bother me that they were paid horrendous amounts of money to do these things.
(Mildly relevant tangent: I’m reading Stephen Fry’s latest memoir, The Fry Chronicles, in which he says he was given twenty-five thousand squids (which is what the British sometimes call their money, or at least they ought to) to appear as the count in this. According to my calculations, that’s about $150,000 US today. Gosh.)
The success of Mac vs. PC pretty much demanded parodies and lots of them. Most of them were amateur productions made for YouTube, but the frenzy of parody reached all the way back to commercials themselves.
I was surprised the first time I saw this:
I’m sure competitors often parody each other’s commercials, though T-mobile and Apple aren’t really competitors, it’s just that the iPhone used to only be available on AT&T. What’s striking about this is that it’s not even really a parody. If there’s a fine line between parody and theft, T-mobile crossed it. They just filched the entire concept, and I think the only way they got away with it is by pretending it was parody. Soon they made it their own thing, sort of, by only including the attractive woman that guys like to look at and maybe some other things. They certainly lack the cleverness of the source.
Then along came Virgin Mobile, making a more proper parody of the pseudo-parody. Perhaps the creators of this one were fans of Inception. No matter how much they savage their competitor’s ad, I feel like they’re actually helping them out by treating the T-Mobile commercial like its own thing, which it doesn’t deserve.