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08/12/00 - Criminal Insanity

In the Batman comics, the Dark Knight's adversaries -- the Joker, the Riddler, the Penguin and Catwoman--are clearly criminally insane. (Actually, so is the Caped Crusader, be he's a good guy).

And when these villains are captured, they wind up as straightjacketed inmates of a place called Arkham Asylum.

Well, I recently I received a tip from DaBitch at ad-rag.com about an example of ad pilfering so outrageous that it seemed like the work of Arkham alumni.

The caper? Attempting to steal the most famous TV commercial in the world and get away with it.

I'm referring to a new Global PC spot that's an obvious (and inferior) remake of the Apple Computer "1984" commercial that made advertising history with a single airing during Super Bowl XVIII. Here's a side by side comparison of the two.

Did I say famous? This spot is consistently cited as being one of the best commercials of all time by industry publications. So it's hard to imagine anyone on either the agency or client side (particularly a computer client) could claim they'd never seen or heard of it.

Yet, here's Global PC rolling out their new computer brand with a summer stock version of this masterpiece.

Did they think no one would notice? Did they feel safe because the Apple spot ran 16 years ago? I suppose they might think they'd get away with it if the spot was only going to run in China, but that isn't the case.

Their brazenness is even compounded by the fact that the opening steals from yet another old Apple commercial. That spot contrasted the difficulty a couple of business guys have working with Microsoft DOS to the ease of using a Mac.

Oh, the crew at Global PC must have broken out in manic, Joker-like cackles when they hatched this scheme to lift not only Apple's execution but their strategy as well.

But, of course, the joke's on them and their product. Apple has already successfully recycled the "ease of use" strategy with the introduction of the iMac.

The Global PC website describes their system's technology in very vague terms. Is it proprietary? If so, that'd make it akin to the ill-fated Coleco Adam which flopped after two years in the early 80's.

Another thing it shares with the Coleco Adam is a dirt cheap price tag--$300. Strangely enough, Global PC's advertising completely ignores this, though it's their biggest selling point. Guess they couldn't adapt it to Apple's "1984" script.

If Global PC plans on taking anything else from Apple, it ought to be a bit of advice from their current campaign-"Think Different."