Since Apple debuted almost 40 years ago, the image of people hunching over their Macs has been a sight that’s engraved into our culture. Whether you’re in a café or library, or even watching a scene from a movie, the Mac has become an iconic symbol of creativity—and that’s where the “Behind the Mac” campaign gets its inspiration.
Initially branded as the computer for the “normal person on the street”, the computer quickly became the go-to choice for creative minds who were hellbent on challenging the status quo. Almost four decades later, the brand continues to push the envelope and challenge what creativity means.
If you think about the brand, for many, Apple is a brand that they aspire to own. It’s not something that you buy if you’ve arrived and are looking to put your feet up and relax. The machines they make are more like utility belts or sketch pads, all aimed at people who are trying to get the job done.
This is what Apple is trying to sell and the “Behind the Mac” campaign relies on its celebrity partners to help do that.
The campaign—and its global impact
The campaign has one mission—to inspire everyday Mac users to act on their passions and create something incredible. In essence, they want to shine the spotlight on the next generation of innovators and creators who are doing extraordinary things behind their Macs.
From the United States to the UK, Canada, and Australia, the campaign has unfolded across countries to show how their homegrown celebrities are hard at work on their Macs. If you haven’t seen the campaign videos, here’s a bit of background.
Campaign launched in the United States
The commercial shows icons like Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and journalist and activist Gloria Steinem working hard on their crafts. When it comes to personalities like Hanks and Steinem, no one would question if either one of them decided to take it easy—simply because they’ve put in the work and paid their dues over the years.
But that’s not what Apple is selling and it’s certainly not how these figures or any of the other famous personalities are portrayed in the campaign.
The campaign tries to show that for all the successes they’ve achieved, they’ve also faced tough times and setbacks that have shaped their journey, making it a Hero’s Journey where Apple will be there for every moment—both the good and the bad.
Let’s look at one more campaign
The same campaign was rolled out in Canada but focused exclusively on Canadian musicians and the impact they’ve had on the global music scene.
The 30-second video features artists like Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Daniel Caesar, and a host of other musicians, songwriters, and professionals in the industry using their Macs. The Canadian website for Apple even went one step further and created a page where they have more information about the artists that were featured in the campaign.
For those who haven’t seen the video, we’ve added it below—you’re welcome!
But aren’t we getting tired of seeing celebrities?
Yes. That’s why a lot of brands are featuring “real people” in their campaigns. Using celebrities is great if you’re a brand like Apple which has millions dedicated to marketing campaigns, but today, the majority of people aren’t really interested in celebrity culture. After all, how much can these multi-millionaires relate to the average Joe?
Perhaps understanding this—and following the successes of other brands, Apple shared a new video as part of the “Behind the Mac” campaign titled “Test the Impossible”. The video shows students working on fashion, photography, and even programming where they’re testing the impossible and pursuing their creative passions.
The video focuses on selling an experience, inspiring consumers to roll with the punches and change their state of mind by trying to do the impossible.
What’s next for the “Behind the Mac” campaign?
The campaign is something that’s been happening since its launch in 2018 with the latest video being released in 2020. For all intents and purposes, the campaign is an ongoing one and there’s no reason to believe that the campaign has fizzled out—Apple could be planning a new video right now!
But until they do, there is a lesson to be learned.
‘Don’t wait for greatness. Make it happen.’
It’s a statement that’s relevant to consumers and businesses, especially since what we’ve known as marketing and how we’ve built connections with clients is always changing.
Brands today aren’t going for the hard sell because it’s a surefire way to alienate consumers. Being the loudest in the market isn’t going to get you anywhere either. It’s all about the experience you create and the emotional connection you’re willing to make with your audience that will get them over the line.
Take a page out of the book of brands like Apple. It’s time to lock away the traditional marketing campaigns that were popular decades ago and focus more on how to build brand awareness and loyalty through meaningful interactions with your products and the lifestyle they offer.