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November 10, 2006

Brand Naming: Bye-Bye Mac Guy

Mac guy PC guyApple is nixing Justin Long, better known as "The Mac Guy” in the “I’m a Mac” television advertising campaign. Why? Because people seem to like the nerdy PC Guy more that the smug, unshaven, hoodie wearing Mac Guy.

Tech filter finds this “hilarious”. Darryl Ohrt feels that this might be because the PC Guy, played by humorist John Hodgman is the “likable underdog” and Long’s Mac Guy was just a little too arrogant. Jeff Bercovici takes this a step further in Radar, stating that Mac Guy makes you want to push him under a bus.

I’m sure Microsoft would agree with Lance Mannion that its nice to try and be cool and smooth but “in our hearts” we’re all PC Guys.

Gizmodo is actually running a poll to find the new Mac Guy, who they earlier agreed was a “smug little twit.” Nobody is sure what the new Mac ads will be like, they are only sure that Hodgeman will be back. Bob Sassone thinks that maybe PC Guy should morph into the new Mac Guy, to show that a “PC Guy can become a Mac Guy.”

I wonder if Microsoft has grasped just what an incredible breakthrough this is for their brand name - Apple has had to register the fact that very few Apple people want to talk about, and it’s this: Apple users are irritating to the rest of us and even to other Mac users.

Microsoft, are you listening? Here’s a chance to reframe your name. Just don’t get smug about it. Be cool. For once.

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Posted by William Lozito at November 10, 2006 7:24 AM
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Your identification of the opportunity before Microsoft is fascinating.

Interesting how a competitor's ad can uncover deeper insight into one's own brand.

Always a wise read here at Strategic Name Development - thanks for your take on the departure of the Mac Guy.

I guess this means people don't want to be like Mac after all.

Apple’s decision to fire Mac guy says something about the anti-Apple brand. Apple was always the “likeable underdog”, but I feel like that’s changing. Even so, I doubt whether Microsoft could really own (or buy into) the “likeable underdog” position, at least for its corporate brand image.

But, some of Microsoft’s businesses seem to be moving in that direction, as their competitors inch closer to behemoth status. For example, the Zune mp3 player was being referred to as a contender for “iPod killer”, further revealing the anti-Apple (iPod) attitude.

Then there’s Google, already a behemoth in the Search business. And we all know Microsoft regrets not having invested in that market sooner, but (Gates) only looked forward. The marketing team for Windows Live Search seems to be reaching for a “likeable underdog” position, at least in their communications.

A few weeks ago, a full page Wall Street Journal ad used language like “We know we’re not first, Google was, but consider trying our product”. That, to me, sounds like a cute little “likeable underdog.”

Remember when Bill Gates personified a “likeable underdog” for a brief moment in time?

And I sure don't remember Bill looking like that dude on the right. :)

Macworld is now reporting that Justin Long (aka Mac Guy) says he wasn't fire, and that he's still the Mac Guy. It says he posted the following in his blog:

"As for the Mac commercials, I don’t know where that report came from that said I wasn’t going to do anymore - I [am] literally setting my alarm right now to wake up for a Mac shoot tomorrow."

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