On a Clear Day You Can See the Hollywood Sign
Everyone Has a Black Jetta
I drive a ’96, what’s yours? OK, maybe not everyone has one, however, in the 24-unit apartment where I live, the tenants, myself included, are responsible for six of them. There’s another two that park down the street. Driving my kids to school or to the mall (both less than a mile away from my apartment), I see at least five or six. Another three besides my own can be found in my church parking lot. In any case, that’s what we in the math trade call a statistical anomaly. It’s like when you walk into some office buildings these days, and most desktops have a Mac. Macs apparently account for 5% of sales worldwide, so, you’d figure only every one in twenty computers would be a Mac. Yet you see them everywhere. Well if you haven’t guessed already, some of this may be Mac related….
Another word about lead time…since this fine e-zine you’re now reading comes out on or near the first, our esteemed publisher (Hi, Michael!) likes it when we get our work in about ten days before the first. This way, we can give you almost up-to-the-minute opinions, reviews, and news, and still have time to put together this dynamite rag we call ATPM. Usually, I ask for a squishy deadline, as various things account for my being late on more than an occasional basis. I could’ve asked for one this month due to the Super Bowl, however, I chose not to. I figured to prognosticate on whether Apple would dig deep into their pockets, and place an ad. Currently, I think the going rate is $2 million for a thirty-second spot. Of course, this would finance my film quite nicely, so they should give the money to me. I’m even going to edit with Final Cut Pro, so I could give them the product placement they seek in the end credits, as in a couple of movies I’ve seen recently.
However, the odds are, the Super Bowl will attract a wider audience; therefore, they’ll probably spend the money there—as they did in 1984. Now, I’ve mentioned the historical significance of the 1984 commercial in this column several times previously, so I won’t bring it up again. Many of you Mac faithful already know anyway. So, a simple small reminder that Apple started the big Super Bowl ad push that we now know today is sufficient.
Apple’s been conspicuously absent in recent years. Of course, they’ve more than made up for it—one year even going so far as to host a Super Bowl special show on their Web site, in conjunction with Fox, who was broadcasting that year.
Will They, or Won’t They?
Commercials are a tricky thing. The sum mentioned above only gets you the air time to show it to the masses. You still have to put something there. Depending on how fancy you want to get, that could run you another two or three million dollars. Or you could hire Jeff Goldblum to talk for thirty seconds. Of course, Apple should give me the money, and I can make my first two films, but I digress.
We all know we’ll have perennial favorites Budweiser and Pepsi advertising, and at the same time, we won’t see as many dot com ads, as we did three years ago. In fact, last year’s most liked commercial was the ode to the still-current Robot Wars phase the country seems to be in, with the refrigerator vs. the killer robot. It opens, revealing a twelve-ounce bottle of Budweiser, and the killer robot grabs for it. As it gets close, a giant hammer comes out from behind the refrigerator, and smashes the killer robot. Personally, I liked the Visa Check Card Commercial with Kevin Bacon. He left his ID at home, so, he went and got various people that knew him, and each other, until he found someone that knew the salesclerk. And in case anyone asks, my Bacon number is 3.
And for my money, the best commercials out now have been running for a few days previous to the big event. The Coke commercial with Courtney Cox and David Arquette comes to mind. Also, the guy running on the soccer field, wearing only a pair of Nikes and a scarf.
So, the competition is stiff. Would an ordinary Apple Switch commercial get buried? Most likely. But, on the off chance that at least a tenth of the projected sixty million viewers is watching the commercials intently, that’s a potential six million new Mac users that can be taken into the fold. Because, they can’t all be Mac owners already, can they? Or, they can create a new, never before seen commercial. Are the fine folks at Chiat/Day up to the task?
Well, by now, we know the answer to this, partially because as always, something came up for me. They chose not to spend their money on the Super Bowl itself. And as mentioned above, Budweiser came up with a really funny ad with the Clydesdales and a Zebra. And Yao Ming, 7'5" center for the Houston Rockets, was in an ad for the Visa Check Card. I still like the one with Kevin Bacon.
Apple, thinking quickly, chose instead to advertise during the TV show that came on after the game, Alias. It featured the aforementioned Yao Ming, with the new 12" PowerBook, sitting next to Verne Troyer of Mini-Me fame with the new 17" PowerBook, on an airplane. Yao could palm the 12", whereas Verne was dwarfed by the 17". This allowed them to run the same ad the next night during The Practice. Smart move. ABC spent all the unsolicited ad time during the game promoting what they called Super Monday, wherein the aforementioned tv show appeared. So, my guess is, I’ll have to find financing somewhere else.
We’ve Fired Our Tech Support Staff
Now, if you walk into the above-mentioned office, you’ll notice that everyone’s working. And not a harried tech support crew to be seen. I read recently of one company mentioning that the Switch allowed them to reduce costs, by removing most if not all of their tech support crew. Another smart move. The math works out to an annual savings of $200K. Which would finance my office, if not the movie itself. And a statistic I’ve reported previously: an average of 14 more hours per workstation of actual productivity per month results as well.
Of course, I’ll be the first to rail against the mentality of the masses; as far as I’m concerned, when you get to a fork in the road, you should take the third path. And the reality of the situation is, Black Jettas only really account for less than .01% of the cars on the road worldwide. However, when you see everyone else on the road has one, don’t you say to yourself, “Maybe they know something I don’t?”
72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.
e you next time.
Also in This Series
- First and Last · May 2012
- Without Him, You Wouldn’t Be Reading This · November 2011
- My Dad’s Got a Barn. Let’s Put on a Show! · December 2008
- Did You See the Super Bowl? · March 2004
- Rupert Murdoch Owns a Mac · June 2003
- Everyone Has a Black Jetta · February 2003
- There’s No “There,” There · October 2002
- When Is It OK to Yell “Fire” in a Crowded Theater? · June 2002
- I’m Not Happy · March 2002
- Complete Archive