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Still think Apple didn’t give the contestants free Macbooks?

August 28, 2008

I decided to do a little digging into this whole ridiculous Idol MacbookGate Mess. Why? Ok. Because I would like to prove that Apple provided Macbooks to the contestants either before the tour or during the season. Oh. And I think its become absolutely hilarious, all the people have these reliable sources that told them this, told them that…blah blah blah. So it’s not really that I care so much, I suppose, but I would rather people examine this “argument” with a little rationality and logic.

Basically, I sort of think that it would be odd that these contestants did not receive laptops, making the whole gifting thing a little odd in the first place.

Apple was the exclusive provider of American Idol downloads throughout the season. At the end of the season, when asked by Larry King, Carly Smithson confirmed that the contestants do, in fact, receive residuals from their download sales.

Remember Idol Gives Back? I do. Annie Lennox sent me over the edge and I called in a $25 donation. During the show, I recall thinking, oh gee, I bet the contestants got Macbook Airs, because they were prominently displayed on certain show segments, being used by the contestants. And remember the constant iPhone plugging?

An Apple Watch blog speculated about the cost effectiveness of Apple-American Idol partnership back in April. Here is the article:

Last Wednesday—and that was before I was writing this blog—”American Idol Gives Back” reportedly raised $60 million for six charities. But Apple picked up a little goodwill of its own in prime, prime-time product placement. The eight American Idol finalists used Macbook Airs as they took donations.

Product placement like this is cheap. Eight Airs from Apple sell for, before tax, $14,392, but the marketing/advertising value could be worth millions. Apple’s real product cost is more likely no more than $10,000.

According to a January Bloomberg story, 30-second ad spots on “American Idol” cost in “the low $900,000s” at the season’s open. Presumably, ad prices for “American Idol Gives Back” were even more.

Through the two-and-a-half-hour TV event, host Ryan Seacrest visited the Idol contestants as they fielded phone calls before their MacBook Airs. I didn’t bother counting the trips, but what if there were just five for only 90 seconds each. That’s seven-and-a-half minutes of exposure—or $15 million, assuming $1 million per 30-second spot in free air time for Air.

Apple is a master of product placement and normally is a heavy paid advertiser during “American Idol” (and that’s discounting the iTunes tie-ins). The company may have gotten a little more and a little less than what it bargained for with “Idol Gives Back.”

According to Nielsen, the number of “Idol Gives Back” viewers (17.8 million) dropped by more than one-third from last year. That’s a whole lot of eyeballs seeing those strategically placed MacBook Airs. Viewers’ emotional attachment to their favorite contestants can spill over to the product. But given the decline in viewers, maybe Apple was better off not paying for a bunch of 30-second spots. Why pay when fewer people are watching and free is more effective? I vaguely recall seeing a “Get a Mac” commercial but would need to check the recording.

I wonder: Could Apple and “Idol” have sent contestant Michael Jones home with one of those Airs? The singer deserves some consolation for getting unexpectedly voted off the show on Thursday—although the crew over at Vote for the Worst aren’t so sure it was unexpected.

Again, there is no reason Apple could not OR would not give these contestants their own computers. This bloggers doesn’t have expert information, but it proves that people familiar with product marketing and corporate sponsorships would also assume this was a logical conclusion.

While I brought this up before, I’m going to do it again. On one recent episode of Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D List, she decides to start the Kathy Griffin Leadership Academy in Mexico. Her then-boyfriend, Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Woziack helps out by bringing down several Mac desktops for the school.

While the small school was indeed a charitable endeavor, Griffin’s show is also a comedic endeavor. While easy to justify these computers as a charitable corporate gift (or sponsorship), it was also free advertising.

So you’re telling me that Apple can provide Macs for a show on Bravo, which gets a mere fraction of the ratings Fox’s American Idol does JUST because it is a “charitable endeavor”? You’re telling me that one of the most visible sponsors of a show that makes a ton of money, even as viewership dropped, would not provide say, the Top 10 Contestants with laptops?

Think about it like this — Lets says those are roughly $2,000 each. That’s $20,000 in free Macbooks, which isn’t even a microscopic pimple on Apple’s ass. And let’s say you throw in iPhones. That’s not even another $2000 for ALL contestants.

All the contestants participated in the ubiquitous Ford “commercial” on every results show, yet, only the remaining two Finalists received new cars. Ok. Cars are expensive. More expensive than laptops, yet Ford is probably aware of the exposure they receive from the show. In fact, they essentially used the show to promote their relatively-new hybrid SUV, the 2009 Ford Hybrid Escape.

Here’s an interesting quote from Auto Observer:

In the meantime, however, Ford has been using its TV money pretty effectively with its placement and advertising programs in three shows. By some combination of savvy and luck, the company has picked winning broadcast properties with which to associate. Its long-time relationship with American Idol continues to pay big dividends in consumer awareness, and Ford’s stress-free positioning on the reality-TV leader was the envy of its competitors during the three-month-long TV writers’ strike that ended in February. A couple of weeks ago, Idol entered its annual phase where Ford vehicles are cleverly featured in music videos using the show’s ever-dwindling cast of contestants.

The 2009 Ford Escape Hybrids given to Archuleta and Cook on the season finale range in price from $21,310–33,385. So um, one hybrid SUV would cost more than laptops for all 10-12 AI Finalists.

Anyway, there’s some evidence. Now can someone give me a good reason why the contestants would not receive free Macbooks?

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. Mysterioso permalink
    September 13, 2008 2:17 pm

    I remember a video of Castro and David A on the tour bus, and nothing but Mac Books were to be seen.

  2. tinkerbell permalink
    August 31, 2008 4:27 pm

    i think they get their MACs during the season. i saw in last year’s tv guide booklet from the tour that blake and chris r both have macboks. i also remember sligh talking about his. think i saw sanjaya with one too. so yeah, i believe they get them during the season.

    and for the 2 tards, fuck off. YOU guys will be the ones using food stamps with all the gifting you are doing for these idols.

  3. August 30, 2008 11:23 pm

    Awww how cute, the cranky tards are here!

    Heheheh I love how they always resort to tard cliches about the authors being homeless or housebound, it’s so predictably funny 🙂 They’ll say you’re hideous obese, live in a basement and play with your cats balls, next.

  4. youallsuck permalink
    August 29, 2008 10:36 pm

    who the hell cares what you low life, have nothing to do but have the government pay your living expenses and you take your food stamps to the grocery store idiots. you ought to all be ground up into dog food

  5. hidingbehindafakename permalink
    August 29, 2008 10:12 pm

    Why are you so fucking obsessed with this. go do something worthwhile for your country and your fellow people. You deserve as much respect as a head of broccoli

  6. hidingbehindafakename permalink
    August 29, 2008 10:08 pm

    in the whole scope of life … who gives a shit?

  7. Hester permalink
    August 28, 2008 10:12 pm

    Still think as an eighth-place finisher, MJ may not have gotten a Mac. If he did and gave it to someone else, I doubt it’s anywhere in his mind his fans or any other source would get him one. Or if he cared. The guy wasn’t regularly vlogging, writing songs with a computer or even updating his Myspace.

    So, I don’t think MJ was ‘bilking’ fans. Thought from that clip TopIdol posted, he was clearly surprised, not like expecting to hit the big time or something. And inappropriate or not, seemed like as that was on video in front of excited fans, what else could he do? Maybe he’s not a better person than us but hardly any evil (or freakish) plotting vibe there. The Castros, on the other hand, well…

  8. August 28, 2008 7:31 pm

    I have no doubt that Apple has given the contestants a swag of Apple products, same with Coke and Pop Tarts. I’d say Bonghead gave his to his leeching family, then his died and he scammed ANOTHER one from that moron Sherry.

    And since the word is out about just what leeches the Castros are, now the tards are trying to cover up that it’s from a tard. Lying imbeciles. In a year or so, they’re going to look back and wonder WTF they were on to blow all that money on a stranger for….

  9. Heather permalink
    August 28, 2008 4:19 pm

    Again – why not just ask Apple?

  10. AIFan permalink
    August 28, 2008 3:56 pm

    I agree. IF they received those computers, they may have shipped them home rather than carry them around on the tour.

  11. rachel permalink
    August 28, 2008 3:53 pm

    Ah okay, I don’t agree, but I get what you mean. Though wouldn’t that mean that MJ is bilking his fans?

  12. TopIdol permalink
    August 28, 2008 3:30 pm

    I’m saying that I think they all received Macbooks. I don’t know what they did with them, but I would think that they all received them.

    And they received them BEFORE the tour or during the season.

    Maybe MJ had one? Maybe he let his wife use it? I don’t know. But I’m saying that it doesn’t make sense that they all wouldn’t have one before the tour started.

    I should go back in and make some edits so this is clearer 🙂

  13. rachel permalink
    August 28, 2008 3:19 pm

    You’re confusing me here. I obviously think Apple would give the Top 10 free computers. But saying that basically goes against what you’ve been saying the whole time about Jason’s supposed fan gifted computer.

    I just don’t think Apple gave them to the Idols during the season. iPhones they were given, yes.

    There are BTS pics from during Idol where you can see people on their computers and they aren’t all on Macs at that point. I hate to keep bringing up Jason, but I know there were a few of him working on his not so trusty Dell.

    And if you are saying they were gifted earlier, then that still doesn’t explain MJ not having a computer prior to being given one by his fans or the fact that Archie was talking about his slow messed up computer around the same time.

  14. Heather permalink
    August 28, 2008 3:13 pm

    Why doesn’t someone just ask Apple if they gave the Idols computers? I’m sure they would be more than happy to publicize that fact if it is indeed true.

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  1. The Castro family uses guilt and prayer to milk tards | IdleTard.com

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