MacBook Air Soars on Simplicity

NEW YORK If you ever want to send a notebook computer around in an interoffice-mail envelope, a new commercial makes it clear that the new MacBook Air is the device for you. The action of the spot (by TBWA\Media Arts Lab in Playa del Rey, Calif.) is simplicity itself: Against a white backdrop, a hand puts down an interoffice envelope, undoes the red string that secures the flap, removes a thin object from the envelope and then, with one finger, opens the object to reveal that it’s a computer. No words are spoken. The soundtrack consists of a few lines (and a few “la-la-la-las”) from “New Soul,” a song by Yael Naim whose meaning is obscure but whose hipness quotient is obvious. (My hunch is that people who dislike the commercial will do so because the song annoys them.) At the end, onscreen supers tell us we’ve just seen the MacBook Air, “The world’s thinnest notebook.” A viewer will certainly take in the point that Apple has (again) done something remarkable. People who tote around chubby notebook computers and have been yearning for a thin one will feel their prayers have been answered. The drawback to the spot is that you feel Apple is bragging about what it did rather than indicating what you can do if you buy one of these computers. That’s fair enough for an introductory spot, I guess, but it’ll be interesting to see whether the product’s user gets more of a role in subsequent advertising.