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How Bill Gates really feels about the “Get A Mac” Apple ads

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This is an encore episode that aired originally on June 14, 2014.

How Jaguar cleverly parodied Mercedes infamous “chicken” commercial, Samsung poked fun at Apple and Apple perfected advertising mockery with Microsoft.


In 2013, Mercedes created an amusing TV commercial showing chickens dancing to the Diana Ross song, Upside Down:

The ad shows several chickens being held by white gloved hands. The hands gently move the chickens, helping them “dance” to the music. While the chicken bodies sway, their heads remain sublimely still, providing an offbeat demonstration of Mercedes suspension system. 

At the end, a graphic on the screen says: “Stability at all times. Magic Body Control. Mercedes Benz.”

Three months later, rival Jaguar released a commercial mocking Mercedes.

It, too, showed a pair of white gloves holding a single chicken, gently helping it “dance” to a song similar to Upside Down:

There is a sudden growl and a flutter of feathers floats to the ground. The camera pans to the right and reveals a real Jaguar cat licking its lips, having apparently swallowed the chicken.

“Magic Body Control? We prefer cat-like reflexes. Jaguar.”

Jag had scoffed at the refined claim of “body magic” in favour of raw power.

Perhaps Jaguar wouldn’t have mocked Mercedes so openly just a few years prior, but it had recently changed its tagline to say: “It’s Good To Be Bad.”

And this new brand positioning gave it more latitude to push the boundaries in the overly refined luxury car category.


Samsung has gained incredible market share in the mobile phone category over the last decade.

And it has done so by mocking Apple outright in its advertising.

Maybe the most famous of those ads was when Samsung openly mocked the way Apple fans will stand in line for hours just to get their hands on the latest iPhone.

The spot was entitled “iSheep.” It begins by showing people standing in line for hours in Chicago, San Francisco and New York:

The commercial mocked Apple nine ways to Sunday. It mocked the 8-hour line-ups, it mocked the appeal of the iPhone to older generations, it mocked the lack of features, and it mocked the fact Apple fans would still line-up for a phone they know offered less.

Apple retaliated with a little mocking of its own when it ran a print ad touting their “Green” initiatives. The headline said: “There are some ideas we want every company to copy.”

Without saying it, the ad mocked Samsung, as Apple was currently in court suing Samsung for copying its technology.


But Apple can’t complain too loudly about being mocked, because it kind of invented the genre…

The “Get A Mac” series is probably the most famous campaign to mock another brand. Apple was personified by cool actor Justin Long, and Microsoft was represented by a decidedly un-cool John Hodgman.

Or as the world really knew, it was Steve Jobs talking to Bill Gates.

Over 66 commercials were made, running from 2006 to 2009.

The genius of the “Get A Mac” series was that it mocked Microsoft relentlessly, but it took the curse off the campaign by having Mac be kind to the PC character, throwing an arm around the lovable loser.

Apple’s share of the computer desktop market more than doubled during the run of the campaign, and its stock price rose over 140%.

Microsoft’s stock price barely moved.

It was one of the most vicious attack campaigns in recent history, a skilful iron fist tucked inside a velvet glove.

At a rare talk back in 2007, Jobs and Gates were being interviewed together onstage. When Jobs was asked about the “Get A Mac” campaign, he turned, looked at Gates, and said “The art of those commercials is not to be mean, but actually for the guys to like each other.”

Laughter can be heard from the crowd watching Bill Gates’ reaction.

He doesn’t buy it for a second.


For more stories from Under The Influence, click or tap on the “Listen” tab to hear the full episode.

You can also find us on the CBC Radio app or subscribe to our Podcast.


Under The Influence is recorded in the Terstream Mobile Recording studio – a 1969 Airstream trailer that’s been restored and transformed into a studio on wheels. So host Terry O’Reilly can record the show wherever he goes.

Follow the journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and search for the hashtag: #Terstream.

(Image Credit: Sidney O’Reilly)

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When Ontario declared a COVID-19 health emergency last spring, the first instinct of Ottawa entrepreneur Peter O’Blenis was to preserve cash.

“We basically stopped our discretionary spending,” said O’Blenis, the co-founder and CEO of Evidence Partners, which makes software for accelerating the review of scientific and medical literature, using artificial intelligence. “We cut investments in things meant to help us grow.”

It was a defensive posture born of experience. O’Blenis had 12 years earlier nearly been crushed by the global financial crisis. Another looked to be on the way.

In 2008, O’Blenis and his colleagues, Jonathan Barker and Ian Stefanison, hit a brick wall with their first venture, TrialStat, which helped hospitals manage patients’ electronic data. While TrialStat had secured $5.5 million in venture financing just a couple of years earlier, the founders had burned through most of it during a rapid expansion. When the financial world collapsed, so did their firm.

The trio played things far more conservatively with Evidence Partners, which has relied almost exclusively on customer revenues to finance expansion.

The caution proved unnecessary. Like so many other businesses, O’Blenis underestimated the government’s willingness to keep the economy afloat with easy money. Nor did he anticipate that COVID-19 would prove a significant catalyst for the firm’s revenues so soon.

Evidence Partners is hardly the only local firm with technology particularly suited for the war against COVID-19. Spartan Bioscience and DNA Genotek adapted existing products to create technology for identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Ottawa-based units of Abbott Laboratories and Siemens Healthineers make portable blood analyzers that diagnose patients afflicted by the virus.

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Shepherds of Good Hope wants to expand ByWard Market operation with eight-storey housing complex

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The Shepherds of Good Hope plans to build an eight-storey building near its current shelter for the homeless in the ByWard Market that would include supportive housing for up to 48 people, a soup kitchen and a drop-in centre.

The organization says it wants to be part of the solution to the housing crisis that has fuelled a rise in homelessness in Ottawa.

People would be moved out of the emergency shelters and into their own tiny apartments in the complex, which would include a communal dining hall and staff available to help with mental health, addiction and medical problems, said Caroline Cox, senior manager of communications for the Shepherds.

Some residents in the neighbourhood are opposed, saying services for the homeless and vulnerable should not be concentrated in one area of the city.

“I was flabbergasted,” said homeowner Brian Nolan, who lives one block from the development proposed for 216 Murray St., where currently a one-story building houses offices for the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Nolan said that, in the 15 years he’s lived in the area, it has become increasingly unsafe, with home and car thefts, drug dealing, loitering, aggressive and erratic behaviour, urinating, defecating and vomiting on sidewalks and yards and sexual acts conducted in public on his dead-end street. Before he lets his son play basketball in the yard, he checks the ground for needles and his home security camera to see who is nearby.

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Carleton University Hosts the Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City

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evehe Carleton University Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City given by Leslie Kern launches Ottawa Architecture Week. Urban geographer, author and academic, Kern will discuss how the pandemic has highlighted long-standing inequalities in the design, use and inclusivity of urban spaces. The talk will share some of the core principles behind a feminist urban vision to inform a wider vision of justice, equity and sustainability.

When
: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
Registration: https://alumni.carleton.ca/event-registration-architecture-forum-series-with-leslie-kern-2/.

About the Speaker

Kern holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from York University. She is currently an associate professor of Geography and Environment and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Mount Allison University.

Kern is the author of two books on gender and cities, including Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World (Verso). The book discusses how our cities have failed in terms of fear, motherhood, friendship, activism, the joy and perils of being alone, and also imagines what they could become.

Kern argues, “The pandemic has shown us that society can be radically reorganized if necessary. Let’s carry that lesson into creating the non-sexist city.”

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