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Creator of Apple's 'Get a Mac' campaign departs famous ad agency

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
The creative mind behind Apple's award winning "Get a Mac" ads, as well as the widely panned "Genius" campaign, has left his job at renowned ad agency TNWA/Media Arts Lab for a post at another company.

Scott Trattner, formerly a creative executive director at Apple's longtime advertising partner, will take on the same role at 72andSunny, an agency responsible for a number of high-profile clients like K-Swiss, Target, Activision and Carl's Junior/Hardee's, reports AdAge.

"I'm inspired to be joining 72andSunny at such an exciting time of growth and endless potential," Trattner said in a prepared statement.

Trattner is perhaps most well known for creating Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign, which featured actor Justin Long and humorist John Hodgman, who acted as human embodiments of a Mac and PC in series of now iconic commercials.

"Scott's track record for creating colossal impact on behalf of his clients is second to none," said John Boiler, CEO of 72andSunny. "His work has not only shaped one of the biggest brands in the world, but redefined industries."

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The ad guru's latest Apple project fell flat, however, as critics panned the so-called "Genius" campaign, claiming it wasn't up to the tech giant's usually high standards. In the three-spot series that debuted during the 2012 Olympic ceremonies, an Apple Genius guides seemingly witless Mac owners through a number of increasingly ridiculous scenarios. While some speculated the campaign was an attempt to reach out to an older demographic, others noted the entire idea appeared to demean users, something Apple has never previously done in a commercial.

A TBWA/Media Arts Lab representative announced the series was being pulled shortly after it first aired, saying it had always been Apple's plan to have a "first run" limited to the Olympics' opening weekend.
post #2 of 50

All macusers are experts at using Apple computers!

 

Give me a break.

 

No matter how simple there is always a learning curve involved.

 

Kind of feel sorry for this guy. This showed you are as good as your current product or the last great one.

post #3 of 50

The ONLY successful campaign that Scott Trattner ever created in his entire career was "Get a Mac".

 

ONE campaign that really came from him AND was a success.

 

This guy is not an ad genius, he got lucky.

post #4 of 50

Ability has less to do with it than being born into an industry and collecting the right credentials.

post #5 of 50
I had no problem with the last ad, it reminded me of the things I see in real life all the time with new users. There are lots of witless Mac users out there, most of them being new users. Just be use you start using a Mac doesn't mean you're computer savvy, or even I intelligent at all.
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post #6 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by japm View Post

The ONLY successful campaign that Scott Trattner ever created in his entire career was "Get a Mac".
ONE campaign that really came from him AND was a success.
This guy is not an ad genius, he got lucky.

So genius is now defined as having multiple commercial successes? That's a new one on me.

Also new to me is how you define such a structured campaign with many dozens of videos across at least two continents as lucky. I tend to associate luck as something you guess at or just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Considering the number of variables for such a lengthy campaign it's hard to imagine it was all simply dumb luck with no actual knowledge, insight or critical thinking on his part to make this brilliant campaign.

Quote:
Originally Posted by POWERman View Post

I had no problem with the last ad, it reminded me of the things I see in real life all the time with new users. There are lots of witless Mac users out there, most of them being new users. Just be use you start using a Mac doesn't mean you're computer savvy, or even I intelligent at all.

Apple really needs something in play when Windows 8 launches. They have a great opportunity to pull even more PC users to the Mac.
Edited by SolipsismX - 8/26/12 at 9:08am

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post #7 of 50

Wow, there is no need to analyze this to death. Maybe he's an advertising genius and maybe he just got lucky. At the end of the day, his impressive body of work lead to a new opportunity at another agency. I simply say good for him and leave it at that.

 
post #8 of 50

The guy who directed the 1984 Superbowl ad went on to direct Alien and Bladerunner.

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post #9 of 50
Quote:
While some speculated the campaign was an attempt to reach out to an older demographic, others noted the entire idea appeared to demean users, something Apple has never previously done in a commercial.

Except for in Lemmings.
post #10 of 50

Let's also not forget the high demands from Steve Jobs on quality and originality.  This is not to say that Mr. Trattner wasn't equally responsible for those successful "Get A Mac" campaigns, but if the recent "Genius" ad is his work without Steve Job's influence, then he needs to work harder.  In fact, all of their recent ads have really fallen short on all fronts.  I cringe every time I see those celebrity-sponsored Siri ads.  It reminds me of that story in the Jobs bio where he would berate ad agency creatives with the "that's ad agency bullish*t" when he saw something that wasn't uniquely original.  The Siri and Genius ads are those type of ads; cute, funny, and ad agency pablum.

post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by POWERman View Post

I had no problem with the last ad, it reminded me of the things I see in real life all the time with new users. There are lots of witless Mac users out there, most of them being new users. Just be use you start using a Mac doesn't mean you're computer savvy, or even I intelligent at all.

I agree. I thought the new ads weren't that bad. They were meant to appeal to a different audience than Get A Mac as well as a different audience than the people here and most of the bloggers. I don't think they had the appeal of Get A Mac, but they weren't as horrible as so many people are saying.
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post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

The guy who directed the 1984 Superbowl ad went on to direct Alien and Bladerunner.

Reverse that. Ridley Scott had already directed those films before the 1984 ad was conceived. I'd wager it was his fame with dystopian and/or sic-fi directing that got him the 1984 gig.

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post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by flight553 View Post

Ability has less to do with it than being born into an industry and collecting the right credentials.

I wouldn't say it's a birth-right and connections can only get you so far in such a highly subjective industry so there are no hard and fast rules for success. A lot of ideas that come out are hit and miss and they have to be. If you constrain yourself, you aren't likely to come up with something unique. We've seen examples of the ideas that came from early Apple ventures like the name Macster instead of iMac. All they do is build an association in a world where everything is defined in relative terms. With so many variables, you can never guarantee a hit.

A big part of it is quality control. Consistently good creatives don't have to consistently make good work but they have to be able to consistently filter out the bad work so that nobody sees it. The Genius ads should have failed quality control but it might have been the best out of a bad bunch.

Ideas aren't endless, we see it already with Hollywood. More and more we get sequel after sequel or reboots of classic tales. Superman is getting another reboot:



but I find that interesting because although it's not a new story, it's a new way of telling it. Up until the Genius ads, Apple has always had the same story and they've just changed what focal point they use and how they tell it. They just try to get across their core values. The iPad commercials did a better job with this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSRPWWSeJww
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRwBpjm2kQE

The message of the Genius ads was all wrong - it's not ground-breaking like 1984, it's not inspirational like Think Different, it's not funny like Switch/Get a Mac - it basically says 'we know you're a dumbass and we're here to help'.

Apple should never send that message. It should always be about making the user independent of Apple and not dependent on them. Telling users to Think Different, to be creative, to avoid falling into the trap of thinking they have something to lose and that Apple will offer the tools but beyond that get as much out of the way as possible.
post #14 of 50

How about "Windows 8: play with it in the store, realize it sux, then buy a Mac" lol

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post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by POWERman View Post

How about "Windows 8: play with it in the store, realize it sux, then buy a Mac" lol

 

That could happen. I remember when Windows Vista rolled out, I went to a store and played around with (an admittedly underpowered) Sony VAIO P subnotebook and Vista ran like shit. Was it the hardware? I don't think so. And, in typical Sony fashion, when Windows 7 came out, they dropped the VAIO P and offered no support for anyone upgrading to Windows 7. I say it's typical because I used to own a Sony VAIO with Windows 98, and when Windows 2000 shipped, Sony provided absolutely no device support for W2K. That's when I realized that this was NORMAL for Sony because they're all about the sale. Once you buy it, you're on your own.

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post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by japm View Post

This guy is not an ad genius, he got lucky.

 

You know what? That's what my dad used to say about Steve Jobs: "he got lucky."

Which explains why my dad still plays the lottery every week.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The creative mind behind Apple's award winning "Get a Mac" ads, as well as the widely panned "Genius" campaign, has left his job at renowned ad agency TNWA/Media Arts Lab for a post at another company.

 

I say good riddance.  Maybe he can take John Browett, the new SVP of Retail, with him.

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post #18 of 50
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Originally Posted by Bilbo63 View Post

Wow, there is no need to analyze this to death. Maybe he's an advertising genius and maybe he just got lucky. At the end of the day, his impressive body of work lead to a new opportunity at another agency. I simply say good for him and leave it at that.
 

Exactly.

Some articles are trying to make out that the ads were yanked cause they are shit and he was fired. When the truth could be that they were never ment to be long term and he was leaving ages ago and just finished this one last job. Hell Ron Johnson stayed for several weeks after he announced his plan to leave. Same game possibly.
post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I agree. I thought the new ads weren't that bad. They were meant to appeal to a different audience than Get A Mac as well as a different audience than the people here and most of the bloggers. I don't think they had the appeal of Get A Mac, but they weren't as horrible as so many people are saying.

Tech heads thought they were demeaning because that group fails to acknowledge that Apple isn't just targeting them any more, same with the creative pros. The new, much larger audience are in fact mainly morons that often need a hand, especially with programs like iPhoto and iMovie. This group is mainly older so a kid that looks likes nephew or grandson is less scary compared to a guy that looks like a punk freak or a phd in a suit.

The only bad things in my option were the use of one person, and a guy all three times at that (in mainly stores the ratio is as much if not more female in the training dept) and the implication that everyone is a Genius when that is a specific job title. Plus I wasn't particularly fond of the sales one. That I felt was gutter sniping like Samsung might do.
post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

- it basically says 'we know you're a dumbass and we're here to help'.
Apple should never send that message. It should always be about making the user independent of Apple and not dependent on them.

That's fine for you who knows how to use a computer, but your grandmother might just be a dumbass and wants to learn but she's embarrassed to ask you, you are always busy or worse you have no patience and make her feel like an even bigger dumbass. Those are the folks Apple created their workshops etc for and that is what the ads were advertising. Not how slick and pretty their stuff is, or what can be done with it. They were advertising the stores themselves. Perhaps not 100% effectively then again maybe the blueshirt with the apple is enough.
post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by POWERman View Post

How about "Windows 8: play with it in the store, realize it sux, then buy a Mac" lol

Bring back the laptop hunter ads. They were made by the same agency, most likely on Macs.
post #22 of 50

Since the ads weren't designed to appeal to tech pundits, the tech pundits panned them as a failure.  The success of the ads are based on whether or not the target audience bought into them, and clearly the ads weren't aimed at tech pundits.  The ads that the pundits have typically touted as successful (those mocking Microsoft Windows) might of been more entertaining but I don't think they sold anymore Macs because of them.  As a hardcore Windows users prior to the iPhone/iPad, I thought the Get a Mac ads were insulting to me as the target audience, and certainly didn't inspire me to consider getting an 'overpriced' Mac.  I only bought a Mac after as a result of my experiences with the iPhone/iPad and trying out Macs at the Apple Store, and it was nice to have a 'genius' to get get me up to speed.  Of course Microsoft is now aping the concept with their stores.

post #23 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


Bring back the laptop hunter ads. They were made by the same agency, most likely on Macs.

 

No no, bring back this ad for Windows Vista:

 

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #24 of 50

Ok.

 

Best of luck to him, I guess.

post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

 

No no, bring back this ad for Windows Vista:

 

One of the all-time dumbest commercials ever.  WTFrigidaire ????

post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Ideas aren't endless, we see it already with Hollywood. More and more we get sequel after sequel or reboots of classic tales. Superman is getting another reboot:

What Superman leaves con trails now????

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post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

 

You know what? That's what my dad used to say about Steve Jobs: "he got lucky."

Which explains why my dad still plays the lottery every week.

 

Out of all the successful people on the planet, I don't know how the hell someone would use SJ as an example of someone getting 'lucky'. The guy was extremely unlucky in life (kicked out of his own company, came back, repeatedly ripped off, fought cancer his whole life, died early and painfully) but his successful was due to his sheer force of will, effort, and passion. There was nothing 'lucky' about what he accomplished. Nobody promoted him to a good position. He didn't do it through connections or randomly strike gold. It was all self-made and the reasons for his success can be specifically identified and quantified. 

post #28 of 50

Apologies to the apologists... Apple works hard to avoid public perception, but life inside the company is brutal.

post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Apple really needs something in play when Windows 8 launches. They have a great opportunity to pull even more PC users to the Mac.

Agreed. Something around 'convergence' might be interesting (recall Cook's very telling comment in the last earnings call about a refrigerator and a toaster).

post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

.
Apple really needs something in play when Windows 8 launches. They have a great opportunity to pull even more PC users to the Mac.

No they don't. Two weeks with windows 8 and folks will be lining up for a Mac, no ads needed
post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

 

Out of all the successful people on the planet, I don't know how the hell someone would use SJ as an example of someone getting 'lucky'. The guy was extremely unlucky in life (kicked out of his own company, came back, repeatedly ripped off, fought cancer his whole life, died early and painfully) but his successful was due to his sheer force of will, effort, and passion. There was nothing 'lucky' about what he accomplished. Nobody promoted him to a good position. He didn't do it through connections or randomly strike gold. It was all self-made and the reasons for his success can be specifically identified and quantified. 

 

He believes that Steve was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to start Apple, ignoring the fact that lots of people were in the right place at the right time (silicon valley in the mid-70s). Of course I don't agree with my dad, only because he still believes in astrology and playing the lottery. He really does believe that random chance is the key to fortune. What else can you do when you don't have the skills or the talent or the willingness to take risks?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

 

He believes that Steve was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to start Apple, ignoring the fact that lots of people were in the right place at the right time (silicon valley in the mid-70s). Of course I don't agree with my dad, only because he still believes in astrology and playing the lottery. He really does believe that random chance is the key to fortune. What else can you do when you don't have the skills or the talent or the willingness to take risks?

LOL at 'right place at the right time' bullshit. All odds were against SJ, and almost every decision he made and product he came out with. Success was eventually attained because of the inherent innovation and extreme quality  of the products he wanted to make. None of that is luck. 

post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

The guy who directed the 1984 Superbowl ad went on to direct Alien and Bladerunner.

No the guy that directed the 1984 Super Bowl ad had already directed Alien and Bladerunner years earlier. 

post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

The guy who directed the 1984 Superbowl ad went on to direct Alien and Bladerunner.

Incorrect.

post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

 

He believes that Steve was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to start Apple, ignoring the fact that lots of people were in the right place at the right time (silicon valley in the mid-70s). Of course I don't agree with my dad, only because he still believes in astrology and playing the lottery. He really does believe that random chance is the key to fortune. What else can you do when you don't have the skills or the talent or the willingness to take risks?

Remember that guy...whatshisname... that was right there with Steven and Woz in the beginning. He owned a chunk of original Apple stock? At that moment, if luck was what it was, he was just as lucky. But then he cashed out. Took his money and ran. made nothing on his investment. He was playing it safe...

post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by POWERman View Post

I had no problem with the last ad, it reminded me of the things I see in real life all the time with new users. There are lots of witless Mac users out there, most of them being new users. Just be use you start using a Mac doesn't mean you're computer savvy, or even I intelligent at all.

 

The nerd herd around here needs to stop with the "normal people are stupid" mantra. You come off as the arrogant a-holes everybody already thinks you are. Remember, "real" musicians probably think the same thing of you when you get up at the karaoke bar.

post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna 
That's fine for you who knows how to use a computer, but your grandmother might just be a dumbass and wants to learn but she's embarrassed to ask you, you are always busy or worse you have no patience and make her feel like an even bigger dumbass.

I think they did some good things in the ads like not stereotyping old people and the Mac Genius didn't impose himself on others, they were always called on for help but they don't make it clear what a Genius is there for, it doesn't explain that one-to-one costs $99/year, it doesn't explain that you have to book training sessions so if you needed a problem sorted in a hurry, they'd actually be of no use to you.

I don't expect advertising to be accurate, I know they have to just create a theme and a basic point and it could be interpreted that Workshop training beforehand would help you in those kind of situations but I don't think they sent the right tone, especially about what Mac Genius' are like (geeky teenagers/early 20s).

They did a Genius ad before:



Nothing wrong with that ad and it clearly explains the situation:

'every Apple Store has a Genius Bar. It's a place where people like [the Genius] will answer any questions you have about your Mac.'

Simple, doesn't make an assumption about the abilities of the user and gets across the point that Apple offers customer support.
post #38 of 50

It's a freaking advertising agency.  When you create something great, you're a rock star.  When you screw something up, your gone.  And I think it was his time.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamC View Post

All macusers are experts at using Apple computers!

 

Give me a break.

 

No matter how simple there is always a learning curve involved.

 

Kind of feel sorry for this guy. This showed you are as good as your current product or the last great one.

post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin
They did a Genius ad before: 'every Apple Store has a Genius Bar. It's a place where people like [the Genius] will answer any questions you have about your Mac.'
Simple, doesn't make an assumption about the abilities of the user and gets across the point that Apple offers customer support.

Spot on. That's just about it.

 

PS: Ugh. Why am I unable to get rid of the image of the the video clip in my response to Marvin?

post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Spot on. That's just about it.

 

PS: Ugh. Why am I unable to get rid of the image of the the video clip in my response to Marvin?

 

No idea. I erased it by going into the post source. If you ever have that problem again, try going HTML-level.

 

Cheers.

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