Can You Be Too Thin? Lenovo vs. MacBook Air
Call it the notebook battle of the bulge. Apple released its svelte MacBook Air earlier this year, along with a fat-budget ad campaign. Apple's ad showed a MacBook Air laptop being slipped out of a manila envelope, a demonstration of the 0.76-inch-thick machine's ultraportability.
Not long after, Lenovo released the ThinkPad X300, which, while very skinny, wasn't quite as slim as the Air. Perhaps feeling a tad insecure about its body image, Lenovo lashed out, making fun of some of the compromises that Apple had made to shave inches from the Air. A hand pulls the Air out of a manila folder, attaches a graphics card, a USB hub, an external DVD drive, and assorted other peripherals, and then tries to shove them all back into the envelope, tearing it in the process.
1984, 24 years Later
There's no statute of limitations on Apple-ad parodies. A mysterious YouTuber with the handle ParkRidge47 reached all the way back to Apple's "1984" Macintosh television commercial (which famously ran during Super Bowl XVIII) to lampoon presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The video is a mashup of the original Apple ad, which depicts a runner in an Orwellian world who throws a sledgehammer at a giant TV screen with Big Brother on it. In ParkRidge47's version, Hillary is Big Brother, and the ad ends with a pitch for BarackObama.com.
Here's to the Parodies: Think Different
Perhaps the most iconic installment of Apple's "Think Different" ad campaign was a TV commercial called "The Crazy Ones." Voice-over narration from Richard Dreyfuss played while black-and-white videos of rule-breaking achievers such as Albert Einstein, Maria Callas, and Amelia Earhart ran. The serious tenor of the ad, coupled with the images of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. that were also part of the campaign, made it an easy target for parody.
The funniest (and most tasteful) "Think Different" parody applies the same solemn music and narration to black-and-white video clips of Star Wars characters such as Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Padme Amidala.
Apple Makes Fun of Itself: Mac vs. Parfait
Why let everyone else have all the fun making parody ads? That's what I imagine Apple's marketing department decided when it hired comedian Will Farrell to do a satire of one of its "Switch" commercials. The ad, in which Farrell contrasts Apple products with a parfait and identifies himself as a porn actor, ran at Apple's 2002 Macworld Expo keynote.
It didn't take long for the fake "Switch" commercial to make its way to YouTube.