Fracturing fantasy : liberal communism, consumption, and identity in the "Get a Mac" campaign
Emma T. Newmark
December 9, 2016
Department or Program
Heather Ashley Hayes
In this paper I analyze the widely successful ”Get a Mac” campaign spanning from 2006-2008. The “Get a Mac” advertisements were very financially successful, but the effects on their consumer have yet to be analyzed through a rhetorical lens. I argue that understanding the impact of the ad on the consumer is imperative to understanding the full implications of the campaign because this impacts how corporations compel their audience to not only buy a product, but also subscribe to a lifestyle that the company has created. I will analyze this campaign through the lens of Žižek’s theory of the liberal communist. I argue that the liberal communist constitutes consumers as part of a particular fantasy thus creating a desire for the product. Mac has framed their brand identity as an ethical form of capitalism in a post-race, gender and class society. The Mac computer is representative of a portal into this fantasy of harmless capitalism. This however, ultimately ignores inequalities of race, gender and class that are inherent in capitalism. Apple’s fantasy is contradictory because no matter how capitalism is packaged, it is always inherently harmful. I specifically point to human rights violations and exploited labor used to create Apple’s products. Using Žižek’s theory of the liberal communist I will identify three fantasies created by the “Get a Mac” campaign. The first is a post-race, gender and class society, the second is an aesthetic oriented toward youth and beauty and third is seamless connectivity. Apple’s rhetoric has created such a powerful illusion that they have mobilized a cult like following of their products, and disdain for their competitors. The consumers of Mac have become so enchanted by the fantasy that they use it as a framework for consumption, claiming that these products can do no wrong. Ultimately, the fantasy is contradictory because Apple does not exist in a frictionless capitalist system, their products are the result of human rights exploitation, yet consumers are not dissuaded by this because they are blinded by the fantasy that does not only represent a product, but a lifestyle.