Apple continues to work the holy trinity of twenty-first century advertising: that is, young, hip and quirky (with a hint of sass). Though minimalist, their new campaign is all three, and then some; and like Volkswagen's recent Unpimp My Ride series, Apple's "I'm a Mac. And I'm a PC" ads are all over the internet.
The target demographic is obvious: PC (played by former literary agent, John Hodgman) is a dorky old white guy in a washed-out wool blazer; while Mac (personified by cutie Justin Long, of Ed and Dodgeball fame) is the laid-back college kid in hipslung jeans and a fitted tee. It's a familiar formula, no matter how you break it down: old vs. young; trite vs. fresh; programmed vs. creative; provincial vs. cultured. It may be fun to watch, but does it have impact?
Like the drunk girl at prom, advertisers are desperate to be loved, and though we may go for it (if she's hot enough), we also see right through it. This explains the rash of online spoofs that inevitably follows each new campaign -- a little game of "We love you, but you can't fool us" that spawns a viral battlefield of audio and video nonsense. The "I'm a Mac. And I'm a PC" ads are, of course, no exception, and the detractors, in this case, are as good (maybe better) than the originals.
If you haven't seen the spoofs, you can check them out here. I like them apples. I like 'em a lot.
Poor Tommy C. He just can't get a break! Days after "Mission: Impossible III" opened to lower-than-expected domestic ticket sales, a USA Today/Gallup poll is lending a little insight into just how much his formerly adoring public now hates him.
Reuters is reporting that only 35 percent of the 1,013 adults surveyed registered a favorable opinion of Cruise, while 51 percent had an unfavorable opinion. That's a major turnaround from last year. When "War of the Worlds" opened in summer 2005, his poll ratings were 58 percent favorable and 31 percent unfavorable.
USA Today reported that Cruise's popularity decline with women was especially sharp, slipping from a 56 percent favorable rating in 2005 to 35 percent now.
But here's the best part.
The Reuters piece (inappropriately titled "Hollywood friends rally around Tom Cruise") insists that "powerful Hollywood friends of Tom Cruise rallied to his defense on Wednesday as a new poll suggested the actor's odd behavior in recent months may have cost him millions of dollars at the box office."
Hmmmm. Powerful friends. Who might those be? Steven Spielberg, perhaps? Maybe Ron Howard? MI:3 Co-star and recent Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman? Paul Newman, with whom Cruise has previously worked?
Oh, no. Not even close.
"Tom Cruise is one of the most important stars ever in the motion picture business," Universal Studios President Ron Meyer, a close friend and former agent, told Reuters.
"It's the biggest non-holiday opening for a Tom Cruise movie ever, and the third-biggest in the history of his movies," said longtime producing partner, Paula Wagner. "His career has spanned over 20 years of powerful, culture-reflecting and culture-changing films."
"The media overexposes him, and then turns around and asks the question: 'Is he overexposed?', which is kind of ironic," Cruise spokesman Arnold Robinson told Reuters.
Gee. How . . . convincing. Way to break out the big guns, Tommy Boy, by getting all the people who profit from your success to tell the world how much you mean to them.
If you have tickets to see Conan in Chicago this week, there are a few things you need to know about the when, where and how of getting in.
1. Bring documentation. Whether you got tickets via email, or won them in a promotional game, bring the paperwork. They will ask to see it.
2. Get there early. Taping is scheduled for 4:30. Ticket holders are told to arrive by 3:15. The line was several blocks long by 1:00.
3. Have all guests present. Showing up solo isn't a dealbreaker, but some were asked to wait on the sidelines until all in their party had arrived. Since protocol was inconsistent, I recommend you play it safe, if possible.
4. Be prepared to wait. Bring your iPod, a book, a beverage, a snack. Whatever will get you through.
5. Go potty first. Bathroom breaks are not permitted once taping begins. Relieve yourself early, or pay for it later.
6. Don't panic. The line is long, and terribly intimidating. Do not fear. We thought we were done for, and we ended up with great seats.
A broader overview. There are three separate lines: one for general admission (i.e. people who got their tickets via email); one for Pontiac promotional winners; and one for standbys. Promotional ticket winners are pretty much guaranteed admission, so I will not go into to detail. I also have little advice for ticket hopefuls in the standby line, although I do wish you luck.
The majority of guests will be corralled into the general admission line, which begins at the Northeast corner of State and Lake. Be prepared to cough up a copy of the email you received from NBC before getting in line, and if possible make sure all guests are present. If you are planning to go early and hold a place in line for a spouse or friend, be warned: You may be asked to sit on the sidelines.
The line will be subdivided at seemingly random intervals. If you are not in the top tier, don't worry. It is simply their mechanism for checking guests in. Once the first group has received tickets and wristbands (you will receive both, and need both to gain entry), they admit the second group, and the third, and so on until tickets are gone.
After you receive a wristband and ticket, be prepared to wait. And wait some more. And then wait a little longer. Admission is scheduled for 3:15, but the line didn't really start moving until closer to 4:00. Use the opportunity to use the bathroom, because you won't have access to restrooms inside the theater.
The most ambitious guests got in line at 9:00 AM, but don't fret if you don't get there until after noon. I wouldn't wait until 3:15, but if you get there by 2:00, you will probably get in. The handlers may try to scare you, but rest assured, NBC issued just enough tickets to ensure a full house. The goal is not to cheat fans out of a seat.
Additional questions will be enthusiastically answered via email or comment. Enjoy the show folks! It is worth the wait!
David Blaine was NOT drowned alive, as ABC promised, and while Smug is happy to take the opportunity to ridicule the media spectacle surrounding the stunt, she must admit, she is in awe of Blaine's effort.
If there is such a thing as empathic suffocation, I just experienced it. The finale is over, and I am short of breath. I feel like I'm going to puke, and I desperately need a cocktail. The feeling is almost . . . post-coital.
That crazy son of a bitch was about to drown, and it was no illusion! After spending a week underwater and holding his breath for a solid seven minutes, Blaine was visibly shaken by his underwater experience: his body seized; his lips turned blue; and as the support staff dove in to rescue him, there was actually a moment when I wasn't sure he'd make it.
Who knew death defying stunts could be such a turn on. I would totally hit that sh*t, despite his pruny fingers. Damn soggy, sexy bastard.
The President thought Goss to Floss seemed a natural transition, but the administration feared the public would find his line too hard to swallow.
David Blaine is soggy, and, like a sheet of toilet paper that has soaked too long in the bowl, he is starting to dissolve: the skin has been peeling from his hands for days, and now his muscles are starting to atrophy.
The illusionist/performance artist has been living in a water-filled sphere at Lincoln Center for almost a week to ready himself for the even grander feat of holding his breath underwater for nine minutes.
Yesterday Blaine told an ABC News reporter: "I think the time has started to really take its toll on my body. It has started to become horrific in many, many ways . . . Every muscle doesn't just ache, it feels like a sharp, shooting pain, like a knife being stabbed." Sources now say that Blaine's declining health has called the stunt's feasibility into question.
Whether these reports are true, or just additional attempts to drum up publicity for tonight's highly-anticipated finale, Blaine certainly deserves credit for living like a goldfish, not to mention peeing through a tube in front of millions of gawkers, who see you at twice your normal size (thanks to the magic of refraction).
Take a look at his hands if you haven't seen them already. Kinda makes you wonder what's going on with his willy.
This one's for you, Sandwich.
According to Reuters online today, Democrats plan to launch a series of investigations of the Bush administration if they take control of Congress in November, although they are not out to impeach President George W. Bush.
House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would hold hearings on the use of intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq war and investigate the high price of energy and prescription drugs if they win the extra 15 seats they need for a House majority in the mid-term elections.
But Pelosi denied Republican claims that her party would move quickly to impeach Bush.
"I said we'd be having hearings on the war, we'd have hearings. But I don't see us going to a place of impeachment," Pelosi said in an interview on NBC's Meet the Press. "Investigation does not equate to impeachment. Investigation is the requirement of Congress. It is about checks and balances."
Clearly Pelosi wants a massive probe. As do I. As does Sandwich.