In Search Of A Theme Song (9/1/00)
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So there we were, your friendly neighborhood AtAT staff, logging some serious couch time last night. Our respective butt grooves had faded from the furniture during our week-long pilgrimage through the Midwest, and now that we're back, we're trying to remind the living room set who's boss by asserting our shared role as the reigning couch potatoes of the house. As you might imagine, in the process we've been soaking up a lot of TV, which, as everyone knows, is the One True Path to enlightenment and spiritual happiness. And so, it was toward the end of last night's dose of rerun-centric entertainment that divine inspiration struck, and we were left with a haunting question: where are the G4 Cube commercials?

Basically, we just happened to notice that we'd been seeing Apple ads all freakin' night. The Pro Mouse commercial blazed its Steppenwolf-blaring self across the screen probably three or four times. We also noticed at least one showing of Kermie's Sage ad and one showing of the Snow ad. And that got us thinking (always a dangerous thing): it's taken us a really long time to notice the lack of Cube commercials. Chalk it up to being busy, or just really, really unobservant-- but it never even struck us that while every new iMac color had a brand spankin' new TV spot shown at the Expo keynote in July, the Cube was commercial-free.

That's a little strange, don't you think? After all, let's face it-- the Cube's biggest selling point isn't its silent operation, or its G4 power: this thing is being sold on its looks. So a TV commercial would seem to be a natural, especially since the Cube just oozes star power. So, in our TV-triggered philosophical state, we tried to unravel the mystery of just why Apple had forgone the obvious route of pushing the Cube via the airwaves, in all its hexahedral glory. Was it perhaps that the Cube generates so much buzz on its own (for instance, this New York Times article gushing about its "classic beauty") that a TV ad would be superfluous? Is it just that Apple is still constrained on production, and thus wants to wait for more product to become available before hawking the Cube on the tube? And then the muse smiled upon us, and The Truth hit us like a bolt from the blue: there's no Cube commercial because Apple couldn't pick a song.

Think about it. In its new commercials, Apple's licensed all these cute song choices that relate to the product in some way and hopefully influence the landed gentry to drop a couple of thou at the local Apple dealership-- Cream's "White Room" for the Snow iMac, Elvis's "Blue Suede Shoes" for Indigo, etc. But what could Apple use to represent the Cube? The only song that leaps immediately (and regrettably) to mind is "Hip To Be Square" by Huey Lewis And The News-- a song that might well spark riots in the streets if Apple were to put it in heavy rotation. Unfortunately, songs about cubes are few and far between-- and we doubt Apple would try to market its executive-targeted block of clean-line elegance by blasting an Ice Cube track just to stay on topic. For a more oblique approach, "Also Sprach Zarathustra" might have worked from a monolith perspective, had Apple not already used it in the ad for the blue and white G3.

So what, then? Suddenly, in one of those bizarre moments of psychic synergy, both of us separately had the same suggestion: "She Blinded Me With Science" by Thomas Dolby. After all, the Cube is "poetry in motion"-- well, as long as you give it a little scoot. And it's not like Dolby doesn't have at least some tenuous ties to Apple already; a quick search turned up an interview with the musician that Apple conducted back in 1997. Even if Apple wants to stay literal with a cube reference in the song it chooses, while we're not all that familiar with his music, Dolby's apparently got another tune that may be less recognizable, but even more appropriate: "May The Cube Be With You." (Our vote's for "Science," though.) So how 'bout it, Apple? The Cube's too pretty to keep off the air.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 9/1/00 episode:

September 1, 2000: Funny, there's no Cube commercial-- is Apple just shopping for the right song? Meanwhile, FreeMac.com has been reincarnated as NadaPC.com, but the deal's gotten a lot less interesting, and Intel's new chip is so huge it may need a whole new case and power supply...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2522: The Big FreeMac Letdown (9/1/00)   Hands up, who remembers the FreeMac.com fracas? FreeMac originally announced that it would "give away" a million iMacs to "qualified individuals" who signed up for three years of EarthLink dial-up service...

  • 2523: That's One Mother Heat Sink (9/1/00)   Holy yikes; we all knew that chips from Intel are following a "bigger, faster, hotter" trend, but things are really starting to get out of control-- especially in the "bigger" and "hotter" categories...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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