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"Bean Counter": Analysis of Television Commercial for Apple Essay

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Successful product advertisement relies upon the use of images and ideas that are easily recognizable by modern audiences and express a common point of view. Companies often use cultural stereotypes, exaggerated characters, and iconic representations of larger social groups to quickly and effectively portray a message about their product and the type of people who use it. Apple, the makers of Macintosh computers and electronics, use familiar stereotypes of computer users to appeal to their target demographic and increase the appeal of the items they are trying to sell. By using actors with distinct and contrasting actors to represent different types of computers, Apple projects its message onto a larger cultural scale and turns its products into a social allegory.
The television commercial titled “Bean Counter” is a part of Apple Incorporated’s “Get a Mac” campaign, in which two American men are used to symbolize users of Mac and PC computers. The ads are set against a minimalist white background with simple ambient music, intended to direct the viewer’s focus exclusively on the characters and dialog. The first man, announcing “I’m a PC” to the audience, is middle-aged, slightly overweight, and styled in an outdated outfit and haircut. He wears a “green eyeshade” visor and sits behind a small desk in the left of the frame sorting a large stack of money into two piles. The green eyeshade is immediately recognizable by viewers as an archaic accessory to accountants, bankers, auditors, and budgeters. As a symbol, the green eyeshade often refers “derogatorily to individuals who are excessively concerned with pecuniary matters or small and insignificant details” (Eyeshade). The money being sorted by the “PC” goes into one of two pile...


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...ith a progressive, sympathetic, anti-establishment character which demonstrates ideals that are valued by the young American consumer.
The cultural symbols displayed in this commercial allow the audience to understand the message being conveyed in a short period of time. In this example, the short dialog between characters creates a demonizing allegory that denotes Apple’s primary competitor as having reputedly negative qualities. The company associates Windows with a greater cultural evil through the use of symbolism, correlation, and implication. “Bean Counter” is an example of how the media exploits cultural norms and stereotypes for profit and constructs an image based on false assumptions and accusations.


Works Cited
Wikipedia contributors. "Green eyeshade." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 Feb. 2010. Web. 21 Mar. 2010.


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