Apple’s ‘Get a Mac,’ the Complete Campaign

Hodgman and Long, ad characters for the ages

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Steve Jobs could sell. He did it in person, he did it on stage, and he did it on television—in the form of advertising campaigns that were often the envy of the business. Among the most beloved was the long-running "Get a Mac" series with John Hodgman and Justin Long as the bumbling PC and the hip, unflappable Mac—an odd couple who would entertain viewers for years with their quips, barbs, sight gags, and one-liners. In 2010, Adweek declared "Get a Mac" to be the best advertising campaign of the first decade of the new century. Below are all 66 TV spots (plus the long version of 2008's "Sad Song") that aired during the campaign's run, from May 2006 to October 2009. All 66 ads were directed by Phil Morrison of Epoch Films for TBWA Media Arts Lab.

  1. Better

    Click to view.May 2006. Mac admits PC is good at business stuff like spreadsheets, while he's better at "life" stuff like photos, music, and movies. PC doltishly asks Mac what he means by "better." Hodgman trips up a little on his second line—an amateurish moment that wouldn't be repeated.

  2. iLife

    Click to view.May 2006. PC is seen rocking out to an iPod and praising iTunes. Mac replies that the rest of the iLife suite works just as well and comes on every Mac. PC defensively responds by listing the cool apps that he comes with, but can only identify Calculator and Clock.

  3. Network

    Click to view.May 2006. Mac and PC, holding hands to demonstrate their ability to network with each other, are joined by a Japanese woman who represents a new digital camera. Mac and the camera speak to each other fluently, but PC, lacking the proper driver, is utterly confused and unable to communicate.

  4. Restarting

    Click to view.May 2006. Mac and PC explain how they both have a lot in common, like running Microsoft Office, but their discussion is hampered by PC's unfortunate habit of freezing and restarting.

  5. Viruses

    Click to view.May 2006. PC has caught a virus and is clearly under the weather. He warns Mac to stay away from him, citing 114,000 known viruses that infect PCs. But Mac isn't worried, as viruses don't affect him. PC then announces that he's going to crash and falls backward onto the floor.

  6. Wall Street Journal

    Click to view.May 2006. Mac is reading a favorable review of himself by Walt Mossberg in The Wall Street Journal. PC then claims that he also received a great review but is flummoxed when Mac asks for details. PC says the review came from the esteemed Awesome Computer Review Weekly.

  7. Out of the Box

    Click to view.June 2006. Mac and PC, still in their boxes, talk about what they'll do when they get unpacked. Mac says he'll get started right away, but PC, who's doing exercises, is held up by tedious startup tasks. Mac hops away, leaving PC waiting for other parts of himself that are in other boxes.

  8. Touché

    Click to view.June 2006. Mac tells PC that he can run both OS X and Windows, making him the only computer you'll ever need. "Oh … touché," PC says. Mac says PC is using the word "touché" the wrong way. PC listens intently, then moronically misuses the word again.

  9. Work vs. Home

    Click to view.June 2006. Mac says he enjoys doing fun stuff like podcasts and movies. PC says he also does fun stuff, like spreadsheets and pie charts. Mac thinks it might be difficult to capture a family vacation on a pie chart. "Not true," says PC, who shows off just such a chart.

  10. Accident

    Click to view.August 2006. PC, who's all banged up, explains that he fell off his desk when someone tripped over his power cord. Mac says his magnetic power cord allows it to simply pop off. PC then recalls seeing his life flash before his eyes, which Mac recognizes as the Windows wallpaper.

  11. Angel/Devil

    Click to view.August 2006. Mac gives an iPhoto picture book to PC to inspect. Angel and devil versions of PC appear behind him. The angel tells PC to compliment Mac, while the devil prods him to destroy the book. In the end, PC says the book is nice, but he's clearly haunted by the apparitions.

  12. Trust Mac

    Click to view.August 2006. Trying to hide from spyware, PC is seen wearing a trench coat, a fedora, dark glasses, and a false mustache. He offers Mac a disguise, but Mac declines, saying he doesn't have to worry about such things with OS X. Hodgman is clearly cracking Long up in this spot.

  13. Better Results

    Click to view.October 2006. The campaign gets a dose of celebrity, as supermodel Gisele Bündchen is called on to represent a home movie made on a Mac. PC's movie, meanwhile, is represented by dude in a blond wig and a dress like Bündchen's. PC says his movie is a work in progress.

  14. Counselor

    Click to view.October 2006. PC and Mac visit a therapist. Mac finds it easy to compliment PC ("You are a wizard with numbers, and you dress like a gentleman"), but PC's resentment gets the better of him. The therapist would return 18 months later in the "Breakthrough" spot.

  15. Self-Pity

    Click to view.October 2006. Mac is seen wearing a suit for a change, and he explains that he does work stuff, too, and has been running Microsoft Office for years. Upon hearing this, PC becomes despondent and collapses on the floor, begging to be left alone to depreciate.

  16. Gift Exchange

    Click to view.November 2006. Mac and PC exchange gifts for the holidays. PC, who is hoping for a C++ GUI programming guide, is disappointed to receive an iPhoto album of images from previous "Get a Mac" ads. Meanwhile, PC gives Mac the C++ GUI programming guide, and Mac is just as disappointed.

  17. Meant for Work

    Click to view.November 2006. Haggard and covered in stickers, PC complains that he's being worn out by kids trying to use him to make movies and blogs, when he's really made for balancing checkbooks. He says he cries himself to sleep mode every night. He then trudges off to listen to some emo.

  18. Sales Pitch

    Click to view.November 2006. "Hello, I'm a Mac," says Mac. "And BUY a PC," says PC, who explains that he has to be more forceful with his marketing, now that Mac is getting more popular. PC is reduced to spouting infomercial clichés and holding up signs that read "Amazing!" and "Totally cool!"

  19. Goodwill

    Click to view.December 2006. Wrapping up their first year together, Mac and PC agree to put aside their differences for the holiday season. But PC slips and says Mac wastes his time with "frivolous pursuits." Mac is the bigger man, though, and suggests that they "pull it into hug harbor."

  1. Sabotage

    Click to view.January 2007. PC introduces himself, but in Mac's place is an impostor, who's clearly been hired by PC to say bad things about Macs. The guy recites poorly memorized line to flatter PC. The real Mac arrives soon after, and the impostor Mac says he's a big fan.

  2. Surgery

    Click to view.January 2007. PC, seen in a hospital gown, explains that he is upgrading to Windows Vista, which requires "major surgery" internally. PC admits he is worried about the process and bequeaths his peripherals to Mac should he not survive.

  3. Tech Support

    Click to view.January 2007. A technician is set to install a webcam on PC, using masking tape to attach it to his head. PC is extremely pleased, but upon hearing that Mac has a built-in webcam, he storms off without waiting for the camera to be fully installed.

  4. Security

    Click to view.February 2007. The campaign really hits its stride here, as PC is a joined by a tall Secret Service-style bodyguard, who represents Vista's much-criticized new security feature. He intrusively demands that PC cancel or allow every incoming or outgoing interaction he has with Mac.

  5. Computer Cart

    Click to view.April 2007. PC and three of his kind sit on a computer cart, waiting for be fixed after getting error messages from Vista. Mac explains that he doesn't get cryptic error messages. PC figures he'll be back, but isn't confident about the PC with the fatal error. "He's a goner," PC whispers.

  6. Flashback

    Click to view.April 2007. Mac asks PC if he'd like to see a Web site and home movie he made. This provokes a flashback to when they were kids: When Mac asks PC if he'd like to see some artwork he did, PC uses a calculator to gauge the time he just wasted. Back in the present, PC does the same thing again.

  7. Stuffed

    Click to view.April 2007. A hilariously rotund PC enters, explaining that all his trial software is fattening him up and slowing him down. Mac says he only comes with the software you want. As PC gets to center stage, Mac begins his intro again, but PC says he's forgotten something and slowly leaves.

  8. Choose a Vista

    Click to view.May 2007. The campaign continues to hammer on Windows Vista. Confused about which of the six versions of Vista to get, PC spins a big game wheel. "Come on, big operating system!" he cries. But he lands on Lose a Turn, and Mac questions why that space is even on the wheel.

  9. Genius

    Click to view.May 2007. Mac introduces PC to one of the Apple Geniuses from the Apple Store. PC tests the Genius, starting with math questions. He eventually asks her, on a scale of 1 to 10, how much he loathes Mac. To which she answers: "11." PC responds: "She's good. Very good."

  10. Party Is Over

    Click to view.May 2007. PC throws a party celebrating Vista, but it's a sad affair. He complains to Mac that after upgrading, he can't use some of his old software and peripherals. PC then talks with another partygoer about throwing another party in five years, but they can't agree on a day.

  11. Boxer

    Click to view.November 2007. PC is introduced as a boxer, and says he's not going down without a fight. Mac says it's not a competition, that people just want a computer that's simpler and more intuitive. The ring announcer then admits his brother-in-law got a Mac and loves it.

  12. Podium

    Click to view.November 2007. PC stands at a podium like a politician, urging those who are having compatibility problems with Vista to just buy new hardware. ("It's not about what Vista can do for you, it's what you can buy for Vista.") But he then admits to Mac that he himself downgraded to Windows XP.

  13. PR Lady

    Click to view.November 2007. Mac and PC are joined by a PR woman, whom PC has hired to put a positive spin on Windows Vista. But PC keeps shooting himself in the foot. The PR woman helps him out, but when he says people are switching to Mac, all she can muster is a meek "No comment."

  14. Misprint

    Click to view.December 2007. PC is on the phone with PC World, attempting to report a misprint that said Macs can run Windows Vista faster than PCs do. PC says that's impossible, but Mac says it's true. PC then says he'll put Mac on the phone to sort things out, but then he impersonates Mac.

  15. Now What?

    Click to view.December 2007. PC shows off his new book, I Want to Buy a Computer … Now What? to help people navigate the buying process. Mac says Apple Stores are there to help, before and after a purchase. PC says he thought of that and brings out another volume, I Just Bought a Computer … Now What?

  16. Santa Claus

    Click to view.December 2007. The campaign gets animated for the holidays, with PC and Mac joined by Santa Claus to sing "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." PC spoils the song by inserting a sales pitch. "That's how I learned it," he says.

  1. Referee

    Click to view.January 2008. PC brings in a referee to make sure Mac plays by the rules and doesn't keep saying Leopard is better and faster than Vista. Mac says the Wall Street Journal said that. PC complains, but the referee sides with Mac ejecting PC, who has nowhere to go.

  2. Time Machine

    Click to view.January 2008. The first spot in the campaign to truly focus on a Mac feature. Instead of one Mac, we see 10, who represent Time Machine, a Leopard feature that regularly backs up your hard drive. PC admit it's awesome, and receives a load of thank yous.

  3. Breakthrough

    Click to view.April 2008. The therapist from 2006's "Counselor" ad is back. This time, she tells PC that he's not to blame for his problems—that it's the result of clunky software and hardware. "It's not my fault!" PC keeps repeating, but then his breakthrough is compromised when he says, "It's Mac's fault!"

  4. Office Stress

    Click to view.April 2008. As Microsoft Office 2008 is released for the Mac, PC gives Mac a stress toy for him to use when he gets overwhelmed. But in fact it's PC who is overwhelmed by stress over Mac's ability to run the Office software, and he puts the stress toy to good use himself.

  5. Yoga

    Click to view.April 2008. Continuing the stress theme, PC is seen doing yoga to try to relax after a tough year of dealing with that "bad Vista energy." But the yoga instructor complains that Vista screwed up her billing practices, and she storms off. PC considers switching to pilates.

  6. Group

    Click to view.May 2008. PC attends a support group for PCs living with Vista. The other PCs there tell him to take it one day at a time. One of them seems to be doing well, and says he's been error-free for a week. But then he repeats the line over and over, clearly needing to be rebooted.

  7. Pep Rally

    Click to view.May 2008. Hodgman takes one for the team, as PC becomes a cheerleader, ready to "fight, fight fight!" as Mac gains popularity on college campuses. But the cheerleaders cheer, "Mac's No. 1!" After PC complains, they cheer, "PC's No. 2!"

  8. Sad Song

    Click to view.May 2008. (Short version.) PC says Vista has him feeling down, so he sings a short country song called the "Vista Blues." Mac doesn't want to hear it, but PC goes ahead anyway. (Long has a pretty funny reaction shot during the song.) A hound dog howls at the end, which Mac admits is a nice touch.

    Click to view.(Long version.) This extended version has more verses and brings back the profile camera angle not seen since the first batch of spots in 2006. At the end, Mac asks PC if the dog is his. It isn't.

  9. Calming Teas

    Click to view.August 2008. Hitting the stress theme yet again, PC says he's come up with a line of calming teas to make things a little easier for PC users frustrated by Vista's annoyances. Mac says they should move on to some other topic. So, PC also introduces some new bath salts.

  10. Off the Air

    Click to view.August 2008. A Mac Genius says it's easier than ever to switch to a Mac, as Apple can switch a PC's files to a new Mac for free. PC objects to this news, saying, "Fear of switching is the foundation of customer loyalty for PCs." He pulls a cover over the camera and says they're off the air.

  11. Pizza Box

    Click to view.August 2008. PC tries to attract college students returning to school by posing as a free box of pizza. He mentions once again that Macs are the No. 1 notebook on college campuses, but figures if he masquerades as free pizza, he still has a shot.

  12. Throne

    Click to view.August 2008. Sitting in a king's robes on a throne, PC says he isn't worried about losing his "subjects" because switching computers is such a hassle. Mac reminds PC that Apple can switch a PC user's files over to a Mac for free. PC then declares Mac banished.

  13. Bake Sale

    Click to view.October 2008. The first of two spots criticizing Microsoft for airing the expensive "I'm a PC" ad campaign instead of spending the money to fix Vista. PC tries to raise his own money for a Vista fix by having a bake sale. He gets Mac to bite into a cupcake, then says it costs $10 million.

  14. Bean Counter

    Click to view.October 2008. Continuing the theme of "Bake Sale." PC is seen doing some budgeting, but he allocates the vast majority of the money to advertising rather than fixing Vista. Mac says the ratios seem off, and PC agrees, reallocating the Vista money to advertising.

  15. V Word

    Click to view.October 2008. PC says a decision has been made to stop referring to the troubled Vista operating system by name, calling it simply "Windows" instead. He uses a red buzzer to interrupt Mac whenever he tries to say the word Vista, but has trouble when Mac says it a few times fast.

  16. I Can Do Anything

    Click to view.December 2008. Animated Mac and PC return, and PC is pleased, because he can do anything, like talk to animals. A bunny hops past, and PC asks where he's going. Off to the Apple Store for some last-minute gifts, says the bunny. PC responds by dumping a snowman head on him.

  17. Tree Trimming

    Click to view.December 2008. Animated Mac and PC are seen decorating a Christmas tree. Much as they did in 2006's "Goodwill," they appear to be setting aside their differences in the spirit of the holidays. But once again, PC ruins it, this time by writing "PC Rules" in lights on the tree.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.