So I’m being bombarded by Apple’s super-expensive advert campaign telling me how great Macs are and how only dull business nerds bother with PCs.
The adverts feature the smug comedy duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb. And they’re on the tele. They’re on billboards. They’re everywhere.
And when I pop over to my MySpace homepage, what’s that blaring out (with the audio set to ‘on’ by default?).
Yep, it’s another chuffing advert featuring the same two comedians, happily selling their arses for a slice of Apple’s fat budget while insisting that I’m deeply mistaken in my choice of computer.
The two comics – who are quickly transforming from entertaining to kill-them-in-the-face irritating in my book – pair up for a Mr Mac and Mr PC routine, designed to make users want to rush out and put money in Jobs’s already expansive coffers.
The set of six adverts insist that PCs users are doomed to suffer an onslaught of unstoppable viruses, security leaks and endless crashes.
PC users are represented as dull business bores who wouldn’t know what fun is if it French-kissed them in the buttocks, while Mac users are seen to be spontaneous, fun-loving bon viveurs, hurtling along the highway of creativity at reckless speeds.
So I give in. I decide to take a look at the videos on Apple’s site, and click on the link using my virus-free, non-crashing, safe and relatively fun PC and get ready to learn, “Why I’ll love a Mac.”
And then, oh dear. Firefox brings up an error message. From the one, solitary piece of Apple software on my machine; Quick Time.
Still, no problem. After all, I’m trying to look at an Apple site with Apple software and their site proudly boasts that their products “just work,” so I’m sure we’ll be over this little glitch in moments.
“Quick Time is missing software to perform this operation…” says the pop up window as only the audio plays in the background.
“Fair enough,” I think to myself, confident of a slick, smooth, user-friendly solution coming along.
And then comes the killer blow with the final line of the error message: “Unfortunately, it is not available on the QuickTime server.”
And that’s it. No help offered, no options, just a simple, ‘It doesn’t work, it won’t work and we’re not going to tell you how to make it work. So bugger off’
But I’m a determined soul, so I decide to fire up Internet Explorer 7 instead.
As soon as I arrive at Apple’s page it wants to run an Active X control and for me to download QuickTime.
Hmmm. Not very user friendly. Why should I have to go through all the palaver of downloading software just to view an advert I can view just fine on other sites?
But – hey! – I want to be the cool guy instead of the nerdy PC user, so I download the software and get ready to be entertained and persuaded.
Except I’m left with the same blank, audio-only video which ends with a message from Apple asking me, “how much time have I spent troubleshooting your PC?”
I don’t think my answer to that is printable.
*Postscript: we asked several PC-owning friends to look at the Apple page and they had mixed fortunes. Some had no problems viewing the videos, while others suffered the same blank screen/error message combo as me.
Of course, Mac-huggers could argue that this proves how useless PCs are, but the fact that the videos played back perfectly before QuickTime shoved in its oar sure doesn’t speak a persuasive word to my ears.