A decade later, ad team behind iconic 'Get a Mac' campaign recounts development & production

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  • Reply 21 of 38
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,430member
    As a series, it was probably the best Mac campaign. Endearing, and at the right time. 'Think Different' was a branding campaign for Apple and a little too pompous. One of my fave Mac / PC ads was with the Linux guy.

    As for other memorable ads, I loved the Intel snail ad and the Intel toasted ad.
    edited December 2016 macxpress
  • Reply 22 of 38
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,418member
    lkrupp said:
    macxpress said:
    II know these ads pissed some people off, but they were truly successful.

    The only people pissed off were those techies who couldn’t handle the truth. No one in the target audience was offended in the least.
     Yes, those were the people I was thinking of when posting. I got a lot of well these are just Mac fanboy ads. These are stupid ads, they're not true and don't make any sense!
  • Reply 23 of 38
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,505member
    slurpy said:
    As a user 7 days a week of Macs I for one miss some of the perfectionism :)
    Macs, and MacOS were never "perfect"- not even close. However, a strong argument could be made that Macs and MacOS today are the most "perfect" (ie. best) that they've ever been since inception. At least, as someone who uses a Mac every single day and makes 100% of my revenues from it, that's my experience.
    Well we are the in the same boat and I did say 'some'.  Perhaps it's because I am always on the bleeding edge running the developer betas, so I shouldn't comment. I do use Windows 10 Anniversary too so I totally appreciate macOS even with some slightly less that perfect issues, a lot!  :)
    king editor the grate
  • Reply 24 of 38
    It's the difference between Darth Vader and a pathetic wannabe like Kylo Ren. 
    Hey Apple is keeping up with Vader:  They have the new Piano Black iPhone now.

    The "Empire" App IS pre-installed, but only on that model.
  • Reply 25 of 38
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member
    Hard to fathom that Cook's shell of a company, with its blasé, saccharine, psuedo-inspirational pablum ads, was once actually Apple.
  • Reply 26 of 38
    2oh12oh1 Posts: 503member
    I wish we could see the ads that didn't make it on the air. That campaign was fantastic.
    baconstangtallest skil
  • Reply 27 of 38
    slurpy said:
    As a user 7 days a week of Macs I for one miss some of the perfectionism
    Macs, and MacOS were never "perfect"- not even close. However, a strong argument could be made that Macs and MacOS today are the most "perfect" (ie. best) that they've ever been since inception. At least, as someone who uses a Mac every single day and makes 100% of my revenues from it, that's my experience.

    That's probably true, but it's easy to feel otherwise when each generation seems to come with an "Oops, sorry..." period during which things that used to work stop working until someone gets around to fixing them.

    My purchase of the new MacBook Pro Touchbar has been the most frustrating technology experience of my life so far. It's not that there's been a major problem that crippled it, but rather a litany of little annoyances that, cumulatively, have made what should be a fun and exciting time feel like being inside a tank full of mosquitoes. When that experience is added to the knowledge that this is, by FAR, the most expensive computer I've ever owned -- 20% more than my last maxed-out, top-of-the-line MacBook Pro -- it's extra annoying to be dealing with things that don't work.

    It won't play some of my video files. The same files play fine on our other Macs, our iPhones and our iPads, but not the brand-new supposedly super-machine. Quicktime opens, starts trying to "convert" them for some reason, then throws an error message. There doesn't even seem to be any common theme among the failed files that would give me a clue how to deal with it.

    For years and years I've been using my laptop to control the Mac mini in the living room via screen sharing. Since this machine entered the mix, screen sharing periodically slows to a crawl, with the cursor jumping and skipping and lagging so far behind my actions that I long for the speed and consistency of dial-up internet. Restarting both machines corrects it for a while until it seemingly arbitrarily goes in the tank again.

    I have five folders with audio files in them that I drag into iTunes one at a time to create playlists. Four of them load normally, the fifth loads so slowly that I left it overnight for it "digest" less than 5000 titles. The import window showed it importing songs at the rate of roughly one every three to four seconds. When I wiped the machine and started from scratch it did exactly the same thing again. Obviously there's something about that particular collection of files (that moving them all to a new folder didn't fix) that iTunes doesn't like, but why on only this machine? None of our other devices seem to have that issue. Just this one. The newest and most expensive one.

    iTunes also refuses to recognize some metadata flags in mp3 files (AAC files work correctly). We create custom playlists using the "Grouping" field. Every other machine in the house works fine. This machine shows that field as blank, even though the other Macs and a third-party metadata editor running on the offending machine show the contents of the field.

    iTunes "stalls" between tracks. If I'm playing one track and double click another, it will just stop doing anything at all for three seconds or so, then I get the pinwheel for eight to ten seconds, then it plays the second track. 10 to 15 seconds to change songs is insane.

    Transcoding a test video file took exactly the same length of time to complete on this machine (2.9 GHz Quad i7 with world's fastest storage) as it did on the 2.2 GHz Dual-Core Air it replaced. To the minute. No improvement at all. Maybe the particular software package used for that particular task is failing at something, but since I have no choice but to use it, I'm left wondering if it was a good idea to pay $5,000 for a Pro when there isn't any improvement over a $2,000 Air.

    Last night it decided it didn't want to shut down. I had to force it off with the power switch.

    File transfers to external devices are usually quite quick, via both USB and Ethernet, but every so often, for no apparent reason, it'll just choke and transfer rates drop to a few hundred Mb per minute. If I restart the machine the transfer rates go back to normal. For a while. Within hours I'll get another case of slug speed.

    The two third-generation Apple TVs in the house have recently started misbehaving. They sometimes report that they're not connected to the network, show a black screen and no audio while a movie "plays," or just refuse to play anything at all until they're restarted. Once restarted they work okay for anywhere from a few hours to a day or so, but then they get goofy again.

    So assurances that the current state of Apple's line is the best it's ever been isn't much consolation to me. It's hard enough to swallow all the misbehaving hardware/software glitches that suck all the happiness out of using this stuff, but it's particularly annoying when it costs this much.
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 28 of 38
    anomeanome Posts: 1,483member
    spice-boy said:
    I enjoyed these ads as well, good actors and Hodgman usually stole the show. I also remember the copy cat ads from Microsoft "I'm a PC" really? Since then the "I'm a" thing has spread to other non tech ad campaigns which few people can remember the original use in these Apple ads.


    The problem Microsoft had, and many other people, is that they didn't understand the basic concept. Long and Hodgman weren't playing *users*, they were playing the actual *computers*. The point wasn't that PC users are nerdy losers in cheap suits, and Mac users were cool and dressed in t-shirts and jeans, it was that the PC itself was nerdy, and not particularly interesting, while the Mac was fun and exciting.

    Now, I'm not saying that they weren't having a subtle (?) dig at the users at the same time, and part of the campaign was clearly to associate the users with the characters, but the key message, which MS and others missed, was about the platforms.

    I still have an "I'm a Mac" t-shirt I got at MacWorld Expo in 2010, even though I disagreed with the central premise of the shirt.

    randominternetperson
  • Reply 29 of 38
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,505member
    eriamjh said:
    System 6.   Mac OS didn't come along until macOS 7.6.  
    I beg to differ I loved the Mac Plus from day one.  Hell I loved my Lisa even more.
    edited December 2016 ration al
  • Reply 30 of 38
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,505member
    "'That's fucking stupid. That is so inane. Who the hell cares about that?'"

    Damn. Where's this kind of clarity and leadership in dealing with messaging? I don't mean just at Apple (whose current cringe-worthy ads, btw, have me reaching for the  mute button...)
    Cut the chord ... no ads, better yet no news :)
  • Reply 31 of 38
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    "'That's fucking stupid. That is so inane. Who the hell cares about that?'"

    Damn. Where's this kind of clarity and leadership in dealing with messaging? I don't mean just at Apple (whose current cringe-worthy ads, btw, have me reaching for the  mute button...)
    Steve Jobs was...'literally Hitler', huh?

     ;) 
  • Reply 32 of 38
    Normally, I mute commercials on the TV. With the 'I'm a Mac' ads, I turned up the sound. And called the kids over, for some family good-times.

    Apple needs some great Mac commercials again.
  • Reply 33 of 38
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,430member
    stevenoz said:
    Normally, I mute commercials on the TV. With the 'I'm a Mac' ads, I turned up the sound. And called the kids over, for some family good-times.

    Apple needs some great Mac commercials again.
    Whenever I see a keynote and they say 'we have an ad we'd love to show you', I want to cut the connection. They definitely need to come back down to earth with some more memorable ads.
  • Reply 34 of 38
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,834moderator

    My purchase of the new MacBook Pro Touchbar has been the most frustrating technology experience of my life so far. It's not that there's been a major problem that crippled it, but rather a litany of little annoyances.

    It won't play some of my video files. The same files play fine on our other Macs, our iPhones and our iPads, but not the brand-new supposedly super-machine. Quicktime opens, starts trying to "convert" them for some reason, then throws an error message. There doesn't even seem to be any common theme among the failed files that would give me a clue how to deal with it.
    Older systems used the old Quicktime, which is available here:

    https://support.apple.com/kb/DL923

    That should let you play your files ok. If they need converted, use Handbrake ( https://handbrake.fr ) or the Quicktime Pro export. The new Quicktime has limited media support. It's faster at handling the formats it does support but they dropped the legacy formats and attempts to convert them but never manages it.
    For years and years I've been using my laptop to control the Mac mini in the living room via screen sharing. Since this machine entered the mix, screen sharing periodically slows to a crawl, with the cursor jumping and skipping and lagging so far behind my actions that I long for the speed and consistency of dial-up internet. Restarting both machines corrects it for a while until it seemingly arbitrarily goes in the tank again.
    The Retina display might be affecting some things you do if the screen is rendered at a higher resolution but there can be wifi reception problems. If you hold the alt-key and click the wifi symbol, you can access some extra settings to see if there's wifi interference, if there are more phones nearby or other machines, it can cause network issues. It's possible to connect directly between machines so that the video in screen sharing doesn't have to go through the router. If the Mini has ethernet, it can share the network connection over wifi and you can connect directly from one machine to the other. That should run at full wifi bandwidth.
    I have five folders with audio files in them that I drag into iTunes one at a time to create playlists. Four of them load normally, the fifth loads so slowly that I left it overnight for it "digest" less than 5000 titles. The import window showed it importing songs at the rate of roughly one every three to four seconds. When I wiped the machine and started from scratch it did exactly the same thing again. Obviously there's something about that particular collection of files (that moving them all to a new folder didn't fix) that iTunes doesn't like, but why on only this machine? None of our other devices seem to have that issue. Just this one. The newest and most expensive one.
    iTunes also refuses to recognize some metadata flags in mp3 files (AAC files work correctly). We create custom playlists using the "Grouping" field. Every other machine in the house works fine. This machine shows that field as blank, even though the other Macs and a third-party metadata editor running on the offending machine show the contents of the field.
    iTunes "stalls" between tracks. If I'm playing one track and double click another, it will just stop doing anything at all for three seconds or so, then I get the pinwheel for eight to ten seconds, then it plays the second track. 10 to 15 seconds to change songs is insane.
    This must be an iTunes issue rather than storage but it depends if those tracks are large/uncompressed and iTunes is set to copy them rather than just add them to the library (iTunes prefs > advanced > copy files to iTunes media folder). There should be no stalling between playing tracks though, maybe the track being played has an encoding it doesn't like. You can try encoding the problem tracks again in iTunes with right-click > create AAC version.
    Transcoding a test video file took exactly the same length of time to complete on this machine (2.9 GHz Quad i7 with world's fastest storage) as it did on the 2.2 GHz Dual-Core Air it replaced. To the minute. No improvement at all. Maybe the particular software package used for that particular task is failing at something, but since I have no choice but to use it, I'm left wondering if it was a good idea to pay $5,000 for a Pro when there isn't any improvement over a $2,000 Air.
    CPUs aren't increasing much in performance these days, the power is going into the GPUs or they are cutting the power usage to improve battery life. If you have a GPU-accelerated encoder, there might be some improvement. I think the new Quicktime X has hardware-accelerated H.264 export so you can compare with that. For some aspects, we are reaching the point of appliances where there's little major change between models, just refinements. A lot of the expense is in the BTO options. There's not much reason to go above the base $2400 model, the faster GPU and 512GB storage are worthwhile for $2800. You'd need to add the 2TB SSD to get up near $5k.
    File transfers to external devices are usually quite quick, via both USB and Ethernet, but every so often, for no apparent reason, it'll just choke and transfer rates drop to a few hundred Mb per minute. If I restart the machine the transfer rates go back to normal. For a while. Within hours I'll get another case of slug speed.
    Something that can cause this is filling devices up but it shouldn't go that slowly. If the destination is to a hard drive and not an SSD, lots of small files can choke transfers up. Random writes for HDDs can drop to a few MB/s. You can report these things to Apple, sometimes new hardware will have bugs that get addresses in software updates.
    badmonkjSnively
  • Reply 35 of 38
    Marvin said:

    Older systems used the old Quicktime, which is available here:

    https://support.apple.com/kb/DL923

    That should let you play your files ok. If they need converted, use Handbrake ( https://handbrake.fr ) or the Quicktime Pro export. The new Quicktime has limited media support. It's faster at handling the formats it does support but they dropped the legacy formats and attempts to convert them but never manages it.

    The only "older" machine in the mix is my wife's Late-2012 MBP. The others are a current mini and current Air. QuickTime 7 is installed on all of them, so if it adds hooks or CODECS, they exist on all of them. All are running the same software, all most up-to-date versions, so it's not an app issue. It's either hardware or some driver/hardware-specific file that's specific to the new machine.

    The files that won't play were all converted with Handbrake. Almost everything in that collection was. Most are DVD rips, some are Blu-Ray rips. Stuff downloaded directly from the iTunes store is okay, as is original material. Obviously there's something in the CODEC or metadata that's upsetting Core Video in the new machine (Quick View, iTunes and Quicktime all refuse to play the files, VLC plays them fine). What's frustrating is that whatever is messing up the new machine doesn't bother any of our iPhones, iPads or other Macs. Why just this model, when it's the absolute top-of-the-line, most expensive, most recent offering?


    Marvin said:

    The Retina display might be affecting some things you do if the screen is rendered at a higher resolution but there can be wifi reception problems. If you hold the alt-key and click the wifi symbol, you can access some extra settings to see if there's wifi interference, if there are more phones nearby or other machines, it can cause network issues. It's possible to connect directly between machines so that the video in screen sharing doesn't have to go through the router. If the Mini has ethernet, it can share the network connection over wifi and you can connect directly from one machine to the other. That should run at full wifi bandwidth.


    We recently spent an hour-and-a-half on the phone with Apple support massaging our WiFi setup. We now have strong and consistent coverage everywhere. I've been monitoring the signal strength and connection speeds for weeks now (via the Option+WiFi reveal), so it's unlikely a bad connection would go unnoticed. Besides, two other machines worked just fine in exactly the same setting. One of them in much WORSE conditions, before we tweaked the network. The only variable in the equation is the new computer.


    Marvin said:

    This must be an iTunes issue rather than storage but it depends if those tracks are large/uncompressed and iTunes is set to copy them rather than just add them to the library (iTunes prefs > advanced > copy files to iTunes media folder). There should be no stalling between playing tracks though, maybe the track being played has an encoding it doesn't like. You can try encoding the problem tracks again in iTunes with right-click > create AAC version.


    iTunes preferences are set to NOT "organize" content or copy files. They reside in folders inside the iTunes Media folder.

    Four of the five folders import quickly and normally. Only the one has issues. Copying the contents of that folder to a new folder with a different name did not solve the problem, so it has to be related to something IN the folder. Again though, why does this issue exist ONLY on the new machine? The other Macs don't exhibit this behaviour, and we're using the same material on all of them.


    Marvin said:

    You'd need to add the 2TB SSD to get up near $5k.


    I did, for two reasons:

    1. Future-proofing. Since I can't upgrade later, I got as much as I can now.

    2. Encouraging Apple to provide as much on-board storage as they can jam in there. This being the first time Apple has really stretched the limits on storage, I wanted to send a message that it's appreciated.


    Marvin said:

    Something that can cause this is filling devices up but it shouldn't go that slowly. If the destination is to a hard drive and not an SSD, lots of small files can choke transfers up. Random writes for HDDs can drop to a few MB/s. You can report these things to Apple, sometimes new hardware will have bugs that get addresses in software updates.


    The external drives are HDDs, but they're not full (~50%), and the comparison is not between various files or devices, it's the SAME files on the SAME devices. I'll start to transfer some material, sometimes many smaller files, sometimes just one big one, and the transfer just crawls. I restart the machine and try again -- SAME files to the SAME drive -- and it zips along lickety-split. That tells me it's not the files or the drives.

    I haven't bothered reporting stuff on the feedback page yet because I'm still troubleshooting to make sure I haven't done something stupid. I can't imagine what I could be doing, considering that the issues are all isolated to just the one machine, but it's tedious trying to explain all this so I wanna weed out as many red herrings as I can before I start.

    For example, I've managed to identify a possible source of the problem with the video files. The bad ones all contain DTS audio tracks. Re-transcoding the source files both with and without the DTS track results in one that plays fine and one that doesn't, all other settings being identical. I haven't checked yet if any of the "good" files in my collection contain DTS audio, which I should do before I take it up with Apple. It still doesn't explain why those same files -- with DTS -- play fine on our other Macs, but at least now I have something less ambiguous to present to Apple support.
  • Reply 36 of 38
    2oh1 said:
    I wish we could see the ads that didn't make it on the air. That campaign was fantastic.
    I mean, if you're cutting more than ⅔ of what you shot, there's obviously a reason you did it. But on the other hand, over two hundred unseen ads. How have they NOT been released yet?
  • Reply 37 of 38
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,834moderator
    iTunes preferences are set to NOT "organize" content or copy files. They reside in folders inside the iTunes Media folder.
    Four of the five folders import quickly and normally. Only the one has issues. Copying the contents of that folder to a new folder with a different name did not solve the problem, so it has to be related to something IN the folder. Again though, why does this issue exist ONLY on the new machine? The other Macs don't exhibit this behaviour, and we're using the same material on all of them.
    You can try dragging smaller batches of the files into iTunes to see if it's just a portion of the files or the whole set. If those are the same tracks that cause the playback delay, it might be the way they are encoded, similar to the DTS issue but metadata related or something. This is more likely to be a software/OS issue than machine issue. If you updated the other machines to the same OS and software versions, they'd likely do the same. You can boot the other machines from an external clone of your Sierra system to check.
    The external drives are HDDs, but they're not full (~50%), and the comparison is not between various files or devices, it's the SAME files on the SAME devices. I'll start to transfer some material, sometimes many smaller files, sometimes just one big one, and the transfer just crawls. I restart the machine and try again -- SAME files to the SAME drive -- and it zips along lickety-split. That tells me it's not the files or the drives.
    Spotlight might be causing this, it's enabled by default on externals. If you copy over a lot of files, it might be struggling to index them all. If you reboot, Spotlight won't start again immediately. You can check if it's running in activity monitor where it shows up as process mds. You can also monitor what the filesystem is doing using the following commands in the terminal:

    sudo fs_usage -f filesys (change filesys to network to see network activity)
    sudo opensnoop

    It's hard to debug these issues because you have to do this when it happens.
    For example, I've managed to identify a possible source of the problem with the video files. The bad ones all contain DTS audio tracks. Re-transcoding the source files both with and without the DTS track results in one that plays fine and one that doesn't, all other settings being identical. I haven't checked yet if any of the "good" files in my collection contain DTS audio, which I should do before I take it up with Apple. It still doesn't explain why those same files -- with DTS -- play fine on our other Macs, but at least now I have something less ambiguous to present to Apple support.
    It looks like Apple added some new code to prevent playback in Sierra:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/quicktime-and-dts.2000120/

    Transcoding the audio would be the only option or removing the track if there are two audio tracks. I don't know why they keep removing format support. I can understand removing encoding support because they don't want people to keep using legacy formats but removing playback support just means a headache re-encoding everything. Fortunately audio transcoding doesn't require re-encoding the video too. You can do this with Quicktime 7 Pro but you may need to install Perian to get DTS support. Then you'd export video to MP4 with video as passthrough and audio as multichannel AAC (you might have to use Quicktime Export for multichannel options). FFMPEG should let you do passthrough encoding too and Compressor might work and would be easier for batches of videos.
  • Reply 38 of 38
    Marvin said:

    This is more likely to be a software/OS issue than machine issue. If you updated the other machines to the same OS and software versions, they'd likely do the same.

    Nope. As I mentioned earlier, all are running the same versions of both iTunes (12.5.3.17) and macOS (10.12.1).

    The only way it can be a software issue is if the new machine has some hardware-specific code that only installs (or is omitted) on this model that isn't reflected in the version number. It may be semantics, but if that's the case, I'd still consider it a hardware issue because the offending code would be related to the existence (or absence) of hardware on this specific machine.


    Marvin said:

    Spotlight might be causing this, it's enabled by default on externals. If you copy over a lot of files, it might be struggling to index them all. If you reboot, Spotlight won't start again immediately. You can check if it's running in activity monitor where it shows up as process mds. You can also monitor what the filesystem is doing using the following commands in the terminal:

    sudo fs_usage -f filesys (change filesys to network to see network activity)
    sudo opensnoop


    Handy tip! Thanks!


    Marvin said:

    It looks like Apple added some new code to prevent playback in Sierra:


    Yet the old machines, running the same versions iTunes and Sierra (and both our 3rd-Generation Apple TVs, if that's relevant) continue to play these files without complaint. Also, even though Quicktime, Quick Look and iTunes are all stymied by these files on the new machine, VLC will play them on the same machine. Apparently VLC doesn't depend on Apple's playback engine, or at least isn't affected by whatever issue is preventing Apple's own software from playing these files.

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