Why is Apple Letting the PC Guy Be My Hero?

by Chris Howard May 12, 2009

I just watched another of those "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads. PC guy is so cool, even though he's not meant to be. He's a big nerd who is supposed to represent all that is bad about PCs - especially Windows. But he makes me laugh and that makes him cool. And Apple is doing that because humor sells.


PC's not real, of course. I know that. He is a bunch of lines by some clever scriptwriters and ad folks, and more importantly, the comedic acting ability of John Hodgman.


Apple has done dozens of these "I'm a Mac" ads now, and throughout, the guy that keeps coming off best is PC. Mac is cool in many other ways, and generally likeable, although a little prone to continually correct you when you're wrong which would wear thin if he was real, but I still like him, he means well. PC though, he's my hero. I can relate to him. (That's probably coz I'm a nerd from way back.)

PC is a it like Homer Simpson, the lovable oaf who you can't help but end up liking. And having delivered so many great lines, gestures and expressions over the last few years, it's no wonder he's become the favorite of the two.


Here's a few classic moments.


I Can Do Anything
A 3D animated ad, PC Guy is enjoying being able to do anything, including accidentally-on-purpose dropping a snowman's head on a smart-alec bunny espousing the virtues of Macs.

PC keeps beeping out the V word every time Mac tries to say it.

Pizza box
"Come eat me, I'm a delicious pizza" enthuses PC, trying to catch college students. You can't help laughing at that one.

Office Stress

PC buys Mac a stress toy but ends up using it himself as he lists Mac's advantages, becoming more and more stressed.

PC venting to PC World mag pretends to be a Mac, trying to sound cool says "Hello, I'm a Mac. Yeah, dude, PC's definitely faster".

I can't do them justice, so go back and have a look and a laugh.

Humor sells
As I'm not in Apple's target market for these ads, I don't know how well they work or if they are losing their effectiveness. But I'm still enjoying them, and I imagine a lot of others are too. It could be that their effect, especially now, is more about creating a warm and fuzzy feeling about Macs.

Humor is a clever way to open a window to let a message in. And these ads to it very well and very subtley. They're not so much about Windows faults, afterall we've heard them ad nauseum, even though the ads do remind us of those faults. Instead, they are about creating a happy feeling in association with Macs. When you see that Mac come up at the end of each ad, you can bet you're probaby smiling or laughing. In other words, you're looking at a Mac and smiling. That's exactly what Apple wants you to do when you see a Mac.

Hat's off to the guys who've written these commercials, very clever. If they ever write a PC ad, Apple could be in trouble!

What's your favorite PC moment from the ads?



  • I’m trying to guess what the V-word is.

    I agree, and I dislike the Mac guy - he’s too cool.  There’s no way he would even be interested in a guy like me.  I’m a Mac user despite its cool image, not because of it.

    These ads work better than Microsoft’s though.

    Howard Brazee had this to say on May 12, 2009 Posts: 54
  • Hodgeman rocks.  There’s no reason for Apple to be mean spirited here.  Justin Long and Hodgeman both do a good job and work well together IMO.

    I don’t really want to see anything change other than good and competitive humor.

    Anythings better than the bland boring “I’m a PC” adds that Microsoft pays for.  Ughhh

    hmurchison had this to say on May 12, 2009 Posts: 145
  • I think when you’re trying to convert someone, you don’t want to call them dumb. The PC character is portrayed as not being stupid . . . just up against the vagaries of the PC/Windows platform.

    DanRobinson had this to say on May 13, 2009 Posts: 9
  • I think the Mac ads are charming all around.  But it’s difficult to make a comparison between these and the Microsoft spots, since they’re essentially advertising two different things.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on May 13, 2009 Posts: 2220
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