Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Memoirs of a MacBook

Updated 06 Jan, 2020 11:56am
"Before you refresh me for the last time..."

Hold Command + R keys when the computer reboots. In macOS Utilities, choose Disk Utility and click Erase.

But wait! Before you refresh me for the last time and I’m sent off to my new owner, I’d like to have a few words with you. And please don’t make a big fuss about me gaining sentience. I’ve been on the receiving end for way too long… it’s about time you heard about what I have to say as well. Given my age, I think I deserve at least this liberty.

You and I, we go way back. I still remember the first time you turned me on. Eagerly showing me off to your bewildered family. In retrospect, I think they were right. You could have bought a nice used car for the price you paid for me. But then again, the car wouldn’t have gotten you the ‘necessary street cred’ as a budding ‘creative’ in the agency world. Unless the car was made by Apple. Which may or may not be a brilliant idea, but I digress. You’ll have to excuse me for my tangents. I’ve developed this habit because of you, after all. I mean, it’s only expected from a copywriter’s computer, right? Ideate, revise, ideate, revise. Like your ex-boss said, the ‘flow’ is important, everything else is secondary. Whatever the hell that means.

Like I was saying… I know our first few months together were tough. Like every middle-class kid your age, you were used to the clunky Windows experience of your family computer. I was fast, sleek, seamless… and perhaps a little too intimidating, I admit. I’ve been designed to have the smoothest user experience, but first-time converts are predictably rocky starts. Luckily for me, your drive to ‘fit in’ with the agency lifestyle was unusually strong, and I was being used to my full potential very soon.

Yes, I understand the irony of using ‘full potential’ in our particular context. I mean, it’s not like we were destined to do heavy Photoshop or Premiere lifting together anyway. I was never really that gung-ho about using my ‘pro’ processing power for those fancy shenanigans. Words sell way better than visuals, amiright? Content is definitely king, but you and I have known that since before it was cool.

I remember your first ad being published. The copy was pretty impressive for a first-year creative. I like to think I had a hand in it. Even though the words were yours, they just looked that much more legitimate and creative because you wrote them on a MacBook. Remember the other poor schmucks who were typing away on their office-issued tower PCs? Damn, those things were ugly. They could make even Bernbach’s copy look dull. Your personal investment in buying me was beginning to pay off. No longer were you just the silly kid who bought a ridiculous machine from your own money and lugged it to work to show off. The seth was happy. Between your ‘young creative’ chops and my sleek aluminium frame, we had ‘showcasing’ potential.

For me at least, that first few ads were very important, because it opened me up to a world outside of your house and that dingy office. I saw client offices. I was showcased at client offices. A creative going to client meetings? Taking briefs AND pitching ideas? We were breaking every rule in the book and having so much fun. It helped that the clients we were visiting got progressively better, too, or at least that’s what I could gauge from teak and mahogany meeting rooms.

Of course, all of that sort of took a u-turn when you made your first jump to the other agency. I admit, it looked good on paper. No longer were we going to be restricted to that dingy design house that had limited our horizons for three whole years. Budding creative (who comes with his own MacBook) was about to change the fortunes of advertising in Pakistan. Now we were ready to take over the world! Cannes, here we come!

Who would have known that this alleged ’network agency’ was that so uninspiring from the inside. I suffered as much as you did. Never did I expect to be used for such absolute drivel of copy. Every time I think of words ‘brochure text’, I still get a bad feeling in my internals. That was a tough year. I think the previous agency seth was right when he said that you shouldn’t switch so soon. I know you got a big pay bump, but the dough just wasn’t worth the Monday morning feels all week long.

Our third stop was much better, partly because you were a little smarter about your decisions. I admit, I was a little apprehensive about moving to yet another ‘international affiliation’ agency but luckily, this wasn’t as bad. Not quite as exciting as the first one, but at least we were elevated back to copy meant for things other than just functional ads.

It is here that I first started noticing the change in you. Once again, the irony of using change is not lost upon me.. I know I bugged you to update me a couple of times, and macOS wise, I was ‘changed’ as well. But with you, it was something different. Something darker. I began to notice a lack of enthusiasm and ambition in your work. I noticed that you wouldn’t take risks in your writing. Even the drafts weren’t as bold. The ideate-revise cycle was beginning to slow down.

Don’t get me wrong. You were no longer writing the embarrassingly bad copy that was your hallmark in the first year. But on the flip side, there was no stellar content either. No mistakes, nothing spectacular. Every word you typed seemed calculated. Well-thought, no doubt, but every subsequent task got progressively conservative in terms of your style. Everything passed the bare minimum, consistently. Instant approvals, fewer drafts, boring outcomes that sold really well.

This I mark, at least in my logs, as the beginning of our disconnect. The downfall. Death of the spark. You were turning out to be cliché jaded adman that cared more about appearances than the substance. In the same vein, I think I began to look dated to you as well. Even though I retained my value better than any other consumer electronic could have, no longer was I the same buzz value in social situations. My newer successors had those fancy touchbars, and I know you extensively researched that because you understood how cool it will look in front of others.

To say that I couldn’t tell that a day would come that we would part ways would be a fallacy. I can see your browser history. Yes, that includes the freelance you pretend not to do at your office. But it’s heartbreaking to see that you plan to move on without realising true potential. Neither mine, nor your own.

As I’m refreshed and my memory is wiped for my new owner and user, I hope and pray that I get someone like the younger you. Someone with a spark in their eye, a creative with something to prove. I’m no longer cutting edge, but before I get recycled into somebody’s YouTube watching machine…. I hope I can get to help one more ambitious copywriter.

Are you sure you want to shut down your computer now?