I don’t watch a lot of TV, but the TV is virtually always on in my house, so I do hear a lot of TV. Commercials tend to catch my attention, and as is typically the case, my brain has latched onto a pattern. In most areas, there are two major brands of every product, one of which is perpetually more profitable. PC and Mac. Coke and Pepsi. I have come to a few very important conclusions about these little pairings. Let’s investigate, shall we?
First, the brand leaders. These commercials are strange. Usually they don’t even discuss the intended purpose of their product. You might see someone using it, but for the most part, these commercials focus on the following. First, life without their product is a cold, frightening place devoid of joy where stark gray skies and dry howling winds will drive you to madness. Second, life with their product is a magical, musical fairyland of color and ecstasy where your every fantasy is made manifest in coruscating rivulets of transcendental exultation. You get slogans like, “Always Coca-cola,” which would sound fantastic being chanted in a monotone chorus by a shambling horde of brainwashed cultists. You see their product somehow coax a party into being, as though they are not selling you a specific arrangement of zeros and ones or a container of sweetened stimulants, but pure, unadulterated happiness.
Compare this now with the commercials of the runners-up. You’ll quickly notice that number one shows up a lot. In days gone by it was in the form of the ever popular taste test style “choose your favorite” commercial where they apparently are trying to highlight that their product is so much like their competition you might as well just buy theirs instead. I mean, these people are always surprised to find that it was, in fact, brand 2 and not brand 1. That means that they thought it was brand 1, which means it is exactly like brand 1. That should lead to a slogan like “Pepsi: If you drink it real quick, you might think it is coke.” This, however is preferable to the subversive and irritating “PC vs. Mac” commercials, an abomination so intense, it gets its own paragraph.
PC vs. Mac is an assault on all aspects of the brain. Now, I’ll be the first to sing the praises of the Mac… all right, not really. Usually it takes extensive, painful prodding before I will even acknowledge the Mac, strong points or no. I have no problem with the operation of it, per se, but the way in which it is handled. Case in point, PC vs Mac. Right on the surface you have a hipster and a dweeb, side by side, each a literal avatar of its namesake. They ARE the products they support. How much of an insult to our intelligence is that. “Look! You can either be hip and cool or a total square! It is your decision.” And that is the way it always is. They give the funny, memorable lines to PC, and let Mac be pretentious and passive aggressively condescending. You mean if I shell out cash for your product I can look down on my fellow man and quietly reaffirm my own superiority? Sign me up! Then they perform little vignettes laden with dubious claims that roughly translate to “With 5% market penetration, hackers don’t care about us yet.” and “There is absolutely nothing that even resembles fun to be had when using a PC. Also, fun is defined as music, photos, and combinations thereof. Games don’t exist.” Mac has fantastic video editing software, among other things, and produces a genuinely high quality product. That said, their marketing of their operating system as a style object and lifestyle choice makes me physically ill. I hate their commercials so much it makes me hate their product.
Sorry… got a little off track there. Okay so, what I’m trying to say with all of this is the following. People like confidence. Perhaps, all of you number twos out there, you should not define yourself through comparison to number one. Sure, there’s much fun to be had in trying to convince the world that the product they love so much survives by sucking the eyeballs from the heads of baby seals, then burns their bodies so the polar bears will starve, but come on. You are still saying their name. You are still advertising for them in your commercials. “We’re just like them, and they suck.” is not the message I would be sending out over the airwaves. Be your own company. Explain what is good about what you have. If it is the same as what they have, good, because they are number one, so obviously it is working. What ever you do, don’t degenerate to nonsensically making weird comparisons like, “Diet Coke is Pepsi’s stunt double.” What does that have to do with anything? In closing, screw you, Justin Long.