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The Computer is Human: A Media Analysis of the Get a Mac Ad Campaign

Meg Knowles, Buffalo State College
Ramona Santa Maria, Buffalo State College


Computer technology is invested with human characteristics and personalities in Apple's recent (2006-10) "Get a Mac" advertising campaign. This paper will undertake an analysis focused on several commercials in the "Get a Mac" campaign that utilize health and personality as distinct markers of humanity, and which effect/reflect societal attitudes toward the computer. We will demonstrate that such anthropomorphic representations in visual culture are an important step in the seamless integration of computing into society (Jones & Jo: 2004).

Societal fears about encroaching technology were reflected in numerous visual representations of the computer in the 20th century, however Marshall McLuhan (1964) laid the groundwork for a more optimistic view of man's relationship to technology in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. While post-modernist Donna Harraway (1994) posited the cyborg as an awkward transitional figure in man's journey toward the adaptation of technology, in the most recent decade, Nass & Moon (2000) studied the humanization of our social responses to computers, and Lisa Nakamura (2002) has explored our ability to transcend identity beyond the human form in cyberspace. The "Get A Mac" campaign introduces a new phase of the expression of man's relationship to technology in which we accept computing unconditionally into the human realm as all physical separations have been eradicated.

Suggested Citation

Meg Knowles and Ramona Santa Maria. "The Computer is Human: A Media Analysis of the Get a Mac Ad Campaign" The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge, and Society 7.6 (2012): 19-28.

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