Apple Macintosh computers are a blessing and a curse to those of us in advertising.

Apple Macintosh computers are a blessing and a curse to those of us

in advertising.

OK, so they’ve speeded things up a bit for the squeekers, typos and inky

blokes. And, never ones to ignore a labour-saving device, it seems art

directors are using them in increasing numbers to ply their trade. And I

don’t mean just as another tool alongside the magic markers and tracing

paper, but as the single most important ingredient in creating ads.

The evidence is everywhere. Look out for tell-tale swirly, textured

backgrounds, hideously inappropriate and illegible typefaces and blocks

of sickly, bright colours. (Oh, and they distort photos too - halos,

colour filters, crazy outlines, and more besides.)

Handy as Apple Macs are, they do lack one essential feature - an ’ideas

button’. You see, most ’over-macced’ adverts betray a fundamental flaw:

the distinct lack of a great idea. And that’s what happens when you use

a scientific instrument to complete what is essentially an art form:

it’s the triumph of technique over substance. Or, in this case, bad

technique over no substance at all.

The irony is that the current crop of ’think different’ advertising for

Apple is the antithesis to the ’over-macced’ ad: black and white with a

good old-fashioned typeface. And a big, big idea.

So, art directors, creative teams, creative directors, whoever ...

listen up; the Macintosh is merely the 21st-century pen and marker pad,

the next step up from the airbrush. They don’t come ready-installed with

world-beating ideas. Quite simply, when you’re creating an ad, there can

be no substitute for using your loaf.

And clients: don’t let your agency sell you an ’over-macced’ ad. Nine

times out of ten, it just means they’re not doing their jobs.

Send your rants to Diary Editor, Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Road, London

W6 7JP.

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