Poking fun at the new conformity: Motorola vs Apple

imageOne of the more interesting ads from the Superbowl last night was a spoof on the 1984 ad from Apple. Some of the chatter on Twitter, Facebook and marketing blogs is talking about the ad in terms of product features; the Motorola Xoom vs Apple’s iPad. This seems odd because I didn’t see any discussion of features in the ad.

Instead, here’s my take on the ad. I’d love to hear your comments too so chime in below.

When the 1984 ad came out, one of the main reasons to buy a PC was conformity. It’s what “all businesses” used. If you bought a computer for home, it only made sense to buy the same thing you had at work. PC users were the “blue suits” and Apple presented the Mac as a way to stand out from that scene.

Never once did the 1984 ad say “the mac is a better computer.”

It said “the Mac isn’t a PC.”

Or, more importantly, it said “if you own a Mac, you’re not one of ‘them.’”

The ad was a statement about conformity.

What’s the landscape now?

Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world. Their market valuation makes them bigger than Microsoft.

The little white earbuds may give awful sound but they send a signal to people on the street.

“I have an iPod.”

Of course, with the amount of iPods, iPhones—and now iPads—sold, “everyone else” has one too.

That’s right. Apple is no longer the sign of hipster coolness.

Apple is no longer the underdog.

Apple is the symbol of conformity.

From this context, the Motorola Xoom ad is absolutely brilliant. They don’t talk about apps, battery life, or the number of cameras mounted on the thing.

The message is identical to the original 1984 ad. If you buy an iPad, simply because it’s an iPad, you’re a conformist wonk.


Here’s the Motorola Xoom ad

and here’s the original Apple 1984 ad

P.S. I love my iPad.


  1. Yourpaladin2000 on February 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    great analysis dave, spot on!

  2. income tax calculator on February 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    great post dave

  3. Dave Saunders on September 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    It’s not unlike the goths in the 80s. People start out as non-conformists and eventually there are so many of the like that they can no longer be called non-conformists.

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