Intel Taps Justin Long, Who Played Mac in Long-Running Apple Ads, to Promote PCs
By Nat Ives
Justin Long, who for several years in the 2000s played a hipster
Mac computer in Apple Inc. advertisements knocking PCs, has
switched sides for a new digital ad campaign from Intel Corp.
Mr. Long began his Apple ads by saying, "Hello, I'm a Mac,"
before bantering with an inept and nerdy PC played by John
He begins the first ads in the Intel campaign by saying, "Hello,
I'm a...Justin." The ads then depict him favorably comparing PCs
running Intel technology to Apple computers.
Apple announced last year it would stop using Intel technology
inside Macs in favor of chips designed by its own engineers. Apple
said then the new chips would enable longer battery life in its
computers, allow for faster processing and facilitate new security
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook talked up the company's new M1
microchip in a presentation last November. "Advancements of this
magnitude only come from making bold changes," Mr. Cook said at the
time. "The M1 chip is by far the most powerful chip that we have
Intel's new ads, described by the company as a
multimillion-dollar campaign across YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn,
argue Apple's claims are overblown.
PCs have come a long way since the early 2000s, said Karen
Walker, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Intel.
"You can't just say this stuff and expect us not to come back," she
The ads tell the story from the perspective of Mr. Long as a
real person, Ms. Walker added. "He's grown up," she said. "He's not
just a person trying to look cool."
The new campaign was created with VMLY&R, part of
advertising holding company WPP PLC.
It is rare but not unprecedented for recognizable endorsers to
defect from one marketer to another. Paul Marcarelli, who said "Can
you hear me now?" in a long-running series of Verizon ads, later
appeared in ads touting that he switched to Sprint.
Like Intel's campaign with Mr. Long, the Sprint ads present Mr.
Marcarelli as now playing himself. "Hey, I'm Paul, and I used to
ask if you could hear me now with Verizon," he says in one. "Not
anymore. I'm with Sprint now."
The tactic could help Intel break through the clutter for people
who remember the earlier Apple campaign, said Robert Passikoff,
founder and president of Brand Keys Inc., a brand consulting firm.
"You're talking about something that was absolutely classic stuff
in terms of advertising," he said, referring to the Apple
But some consumers may not get the reference, Mr. Passikoff
said. "Even with access to everything on the internet and YouTube,
I'm not sure that everyone always remembers the initial
advertising," he said.
That means the Intel campaign also has to succeed on its own
merits, he said.
Write to Nat Ives at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 17, 2021 07:14 ET (11:14 GMT)
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