In it, PC guy and Mac guy--played by John Hodgman and Justin Long--engage in their usual banter from a right-hand video box on viewers' screens. The two then direct their attention to a separate leaderboard at the top of the screen, which displays a failed attempt by PC guy to promote Microsoft's Vista operating system in typical static banner ad fashion.
"Since we launched the [PC guy/Mac guy] ads 18 months ago, they've become a real phenomenon," says Zach Leary, director of interactive creation at TBWAChiatDay's Media Arts Lab, which the agency formed in mid-2006 to handle its Apple account.
"We've run the [PC guy/Mac guy] ads online before, but this is our biggest and boldest push ever," Leary says. "Instead of repurposing a TV spot, we developed an original script perfect for the Web, and then came up with the synced roadblock to engage people even further."
This week, the ad ran on technology-focused sites like CNET.com, News.com, and Engadget.com. Next week, it is scheduled to run on general news sites, including CNN.com and Wall Street Journal's WSJ.com, among other sites, Leary says.
Leary declined to comment on early response to the ad, which debuted on Monday, but it had been viewed on YouTube over 70,000 times by Wednesday afternoon. By contrast, an Apple TV ad playfully knocking Microsoft's Vista has been viewed less than 126,000 times since being uploaded onto YouTube in February.
"We don't disclose the success of our clients' campaigns, but I can tell that original content is much more effective in engaging consumers than repurposed content," said Leary. "This ad is a perfect example of that."
According to Leary, there are more and similarly creative Apple ads in the works for the Web. Apple did not return press queries on Wednesday.