Among all the background I previously provided about the “Get a Mac” spoofs that Novell produced for BrainShare, there are some other choices that we made that I did not explain in my previous post.
A few insightful people have commented to me that it was interesting that we did not insert “SUSE Linux” into the mix, but instead we just used the name “Linux.”
We chose to go with “Linux” deliberately. Inside Novell, there were a couple people who suggested that we consider using the name “SUSE Linux,” but we didn’t give it much consideration. We wanted to make a video that would have broader appeal–something that the Linux community could enjoy as a whole. Indeed, using “SUSE Linux” would have blown the video’s impact completely, and seemed rather pretentious for a company that really doesn’t need to call itself further into question with the free software community. (And how silly and complicated would it have been to imply that there’s also someone named “Red Hat” or “Fedora,” and someone else named “Ubuntu,” and yet another named “Mandriva,” and a Bob Dobbs-looking dude named “SlackWare.” Clearly this would have gotten out of hand long before “Yellow Dog” entered and did something embarrassing with PC’s leg.) So, the only deliberate Novell branding are the taglines at the end of the video, which is just enough to let you know who made the video. No need for overbearing product placements throughout.
Still, there are some observant people that noticed that the woman who played Linux first appears in a sweater that can only be described as “suspiciously green.” Guilty as charged. We tried to keep it subtle. And to those who point out that in Germany “Suse” is sometimes a woman’s name, you are even more clever than the videos’ producers. (Ah, but serendipity is sweet.)
Some other facts and trivia:
- Between the various posts of these three videos on YouTube and on Novell.com, there have been over a million views. That likely means that we managed to get the primary “Hey, Linux exists!” message out to quite a few people who currently don’t use Linux.
- The general response to us using a woman to play Linux has been positive, and most people say that we did it respectfully and tastefully. (Nevertheless, there have been many disturbingly sexist–sometimes even misogynistic–comments. Whoever writes these awful comments, please get some dignity.)
- In the second video, the leopard-print shirt Mac wears is from my personal collection. (We had to pin it in back to make it fit the skinny dude who played Mac.) Sadly, the shirt disappeared during the shoot.
- In the third video, we absolutely broke the metaphor by having Mac and PC actually use computers. How can Mac be a Mac and use a Mac? How!? We had a second script in which there were no actual computers, and we had all the characters dressed just like Linux. It preserved the original “Get a Mac” metaphor of personifying computers, but the point that Linux runs on whatever did not come out as strong, so we scrapped it.