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The Story Behind “I’m a Mac,” “I’m a PC”

Douglas Queneua of Campaign US has put together an extensive oral history of Apple's famous "Get a Mac" ad campaign. Written in two parts, the history is told by actors Justin Long (Mac) and John Hodgman (PC), as well as many of the creative minds that birthed the campaign.

In September 2005, Steve Jobs gave his advertising agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, an assignment: Come up with a campaign that clearly demonstrates the Mac's superiority to the PC. There was no deadline.

Seven months, dozens of tense meetings and countless discarded ideas later, the agency produced "Get a Mac." It would go on to become one of the most succesful and admired ad campaigns in Apple's history, no small feat when "1984," "Think Different" and "Silhouette" are the competition. Among those legendary ads, "Get a Mac" stands out as the most overtly comedic and one of the most expansive: The team shot 323 spots over three years just to get the 66 that made it on air.

To mark the 10-year anniversary, Campaign US asked members of the creative team, the crew and the actors to share the untold stories of how the campaign came to life. What follows is their recollections—inconsistencies, errors, biases and all—lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

There are plenty of great stories shared here from a memorable campaign.

One of my favorite tidbits from the article is that Justin Long initially assumed he would be playing the PC role, because up until then he had been playing primarily nerdy parts. "Nerdy parts," he says, "suited my natural personality."