Tech blogs are eagerly attacking Apple’s new ad, calling it terrible, appalling, obnoxious, and so on. Some jump in to defend it saying that it’s not meant for existing Mac users, but switchers. None of them seem to realize that perhaps the ad was designed to be obnoxious from the start so that instead of selling a specific product it would generate buzz around the brand, which is especially easy with a polarizing brand like Apple. I would say that the dozens of blog posts (some making the front pages of social news sites, like this one on Hacker News, or this one on TechMeme) and hundreds more Tweets and Facebook shares make this an extremely successful ad.
The marketer realizes full well the emotional attachment Apple fans have to the brand (as well as those who “hate” Apple), so they pull a couple of strings and sit back to watch all that great noise grow from nothing but a clumsy portrayal of the sacred brand. They’re not running the ads to sell a specific product, they’re running them to boost brand awareness, to keep Apple in the heads of potential customers for that time they do decide to purchase their new computer or a mobile device. The brand image itself is unaffected. People don’t care how clumsy the ad is, they’ll forget that tomorrow, but the brand awareness will remain.