Actor Justin Long reveals why Steve Jobs rejected over 200 'I'm a Mac' ads

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 27
Just 66 "I'm a Mac" ads aired out of 323 that were filmed. Star Justin Long says Steve Jobs always rejected the ones that had too much humor.




Justin Long, who co-starred in all of Apple's famous "I'm a Mac" ads with John Hodgman, has revealed that Steve Jobs rejected ones that were too funny. While Long filmed 323 of them, he says there was a pattern to which ones failed to be used.

"I noticed that some of the funniest ones would never air," Long told Entertainment Weekly. "One in particular, I remember, Zach Galifianakis played, like, a drunken Santa Claus. I was dying to see that one [but] they said, basically, that Steve Jobs preferred when they weren't super funny."

The ads, which ran from 2006 to 2009, all promoted Macs by pointing out that Windows PCs were significantly flawed. Jobs reportedly wanted that to always be the message that viewers took away. "He thought [being too funny] would detract from the point of the commerical," continued Long. "He thought if people were too focused on the humor in it, they would lose sight of the product."


"Virus" was the first "I'm a Mac" ad to be written


Previously, Long, co-star John Hodgman and makers of the campaign from TBWA\Chiat\Day including creative director Jason Sperling, have spoken about the ads and Jobs's detailed focus on them.

"Steve demanded perfection," Sperling said. "Just looking at a reflection on a screen at the 17-second mark, he'd tell the team, 'Stop, why didn't you do better with your lighting?' He was quite punishing if you didn't do it right."

Alongside his film career, Long has also now starred in an ad campaign for Huawei.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    LatkoLatko Posts: 398member
    Recycle the whole series - with Fatman as the symbol of the current, incumbent Apple and Mr Coolguy as MS Nadella...
    edited May 27 elijahg
  • Reply 2 of 24
    seanjanantksundarampscooter63NoFliesOnMe
  • Reply 3 of 24
    Only 66 released out of 323 made?? The Ad Agency should release some more of them (I am sure they kept them all) as the 'Lost Collection.' It will help remind everyone what made Apple great at one time.
    pulseimagesJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 24
    steveausteveau Posts: 238member
    Only 66 released out of 323 made?? The Ad Agency should release some more of them (I am sure they kept them all) as the 'Lost Collection.' It will help remind everyone what made Apple great at one time.
    Great idea! Bundle them in 10-12 an episode and add an interview or two and release the series on Apple TV+. It would be better than most of the product so far!
    SoundJudgmenttcphoto1@mac.comelijahganantksundaramcornchiptyler82NoFliesOnMeRobPalmer9toysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 24
    indiekidukindiekiduk Posts: 298member
    How about an ad for iCloud security, featuring his naughty kayak adventure with Amanda Seyfried lol
    edited May 27
  • Reply 6 of 24
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,303member
    I miss the 'I'm a Mac' commercials. They were amusing in their cleverness. Yeah, guffaws would have distracted from the overall quality of the spot as well as the product.

    I'd like to see the other 257 spots but would settle for a DVD of the 66 that aired. I have some saved but they're low res.
    minicoffeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 24
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,652member
    Latko said:
    Recycle the whole series - with Fatman as the symbol of the current, incumbent Apple and Mr Coolguy as MS Nadella...
    So make it fictional?
    pscooter63minicoffeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 24
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,224member
    The second best ad series of all time. 

    Yes, Apple is now a trillion dollar company and in a different stage of life, but it’s simply not the cool iconoclast that it was. The main thing going for it currently is that the others haven’t quite caught up with it, yet. No one still competes across the whole ecosystem.

    Looking back, it is really quite mind-boggling how much Jobs and Apple shook things up. 
    cornchipflyingdpsteveauwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 24
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,333member
    Would love to see the Galifianakis Spot.
    welshdogwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 24
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,672member
    Apple not long ago revived their spirit with their "What's a computer?" commercial -- and got mercilessly attacked for it.

    The times, they keep on changin'

    In the meantime, Windows machines have mostly caught up with Macs and in some areas (depending on criteria and what one is measuring) surpassed them.

    But, one thing hasn't changed:   Apple doesn't do funny.   They take their products seriously.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,895member
    Latko said:
    Recycle the whole series - with Fatman as the symbol of the current, incumbent Apple and Mr Coolguy as MS Nadella...
    The ads would not be effective at all today. When Apple ran these, it was perfect timing. Microsoft was struggling really badly with Vista and macOS was taking off really well and iPod/iPhone was giving Apple a name again and getting people into their stores. 
    GeorgeBMacJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 24
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,895member

    Apple not long ago revived their spirit with their "What's a computer?" commercial -- and got mercilessly attacked for it.

    The times, they keep on changin'

    In the meantime, Windows machines have mostly caught up with Macs and in some areas (depending on criteria and what one is measuring) surpassed them.

    But, one thing hasn't changed:   Apple doesn't do funny.   They take their products seriously.
    I also notice that Apple very rarely ever mentions competitors in its ads. Apple's ads are about what you can do with their product, or a result of using their product, not a comparison ad that not only looks cheesy, but also advertises the competitors product for free. I cannot stand comparison ads...can you hear me Chevrolet!!!
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 24
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,441member
    sflocal said:
    Latko said:
    Recycle the whole series - with Fatman as the symbol of the current, incumbent Apple and Mr Coolguy as MS Nadella...
    So make it fictional?
    One of the ads had John Hodgeman, the PC in a cast because he got flung off the table when someone tripped on the cord, touting the benefits of the MagSafe connector, one of their best inventions ever. Unfortunately, that one is also fictional now. 
    svanstromGeorgeBMacwelshdogJWSCtoysandme
  • Reply 14 of 24
    But, one thing hasn't changed:   Apple doesn't do funny.   They take their products seriously.
    Windows Security: You are coming to a sad realization. Cancel or Allow?
    PC: ...sigh... Allow.
    SoliMplsPwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 24
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,183member
    Only 66 released out of 323 made?? The Ad Agency should release some more of them (I am sure they kept them all) as the 'Lost Collection.' It will help remind everyone what made Apple great at one time.
    Those would be the property of Apple, not the ad agency.
    welshdogtoysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 24
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 715member
    Only 66 released out of 323 made?? The Ad Agency should release some more of them (I am sure they kept them all) as the 'Lost Collection.' It will help remind everyone what made Apple great at one time.
    Those would be the property of Apple, not the ad agency.
    You beat me to it. I was going to say every lawyer at Apple should be fired if ownership of the ad materials weren't assigned to Apple.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 24
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,224member
    Great trip down memory lane. Thanks.

    I truly miss MagSafe. I forgot that they had three or four Mac v. PC segments just on that one feature...
    cincyteetoysandmeMplsPwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 24
    Steve’s Order 66, ha. 
  • Reply 19 of 24
    I’m waiting for the next newsworthy article: Steve Jobs (yeah, let’s throw his name just to entice people to read it) rejected farts that were too loud. He thought it detracted people from the smell...
  • Reply 20 of 24
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 3,326member

    When they originally aired, I saw them mostly as browser ads. I hadn't seen quite a lot of them.

    About a couple of years back, I watched all the (aired) ads collated into one single YouTube video. I think it ran for about 39 minutes or so for all of them.

    They were hilarious.

    watto_cobra
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