A commercial by a Taiwanese tablet computer maker, which shows a local entertainer dressed like late Apple founder Steve Jobs with wings and a halo, has been criticized as disrespectful.
The ad for the Action Electronics Action Pad tablet PC, which uses Google’s Android operating system, features Jobs-lookalike A-ken (阿Ken), a TV comedian. Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and other media have reported on the 20-second TV commercial, with most of them quoting critics who described it as “tasteless” and “shameless.”
The responses were particularly vehement in the US, where it was well known that Jobs accused Google of stealing Apple technology to create the Android OS. Jobs branded the technology “grand theft Android” and promised to spend all his company’s money to wreck Google.
“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s US$40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said in his biography.
Taiwanese writer Eric Wu (吳若權) said the TV ad was a “shallow creation that hurts.”
Wu said he believed the commercial was a natural product of Taiwanese society, which is obsessed with entertainment and low-class jokes.
“In such an atmosphere, the basic values of our traditional culture — empathy and respect — have been overwhelmed,” Wu said.
In a blog post on Monday last week, Wu said the commercial was made without the consent of Jobs’ family.
The commercial features A-ken dressed in Jobs’ trademark black turtleneck sweater and blue jeans, with white angel’s wings and a halo. The “angel Jobs” extols the virtues of Action Electronics’ combination tablet PC and multi--language dictionary.
Niu Tse-hsun (鈕則勳), an associate professor of advertisement at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, said the electronics firm might think it was creative to use a Jobs look-alike in its promotional campaign. However, he added that he would not recommend using the image of a recently deceased person because that could be considered cold-hearted.
Nonetheless, by making Jobs appear as an angel, Action Electronics had not slandered the late electronics guru, Niu said.
Amid the fracas over the issue, some netizens in Taiwan said they saw nothing wrong with the ad.
“Is Steve Jobs a god who cannot be portrayed in an ad?” one person wrote.
The Netizens criticized Wu as taking the “moral high ground” in finding fault with the ad. In response, Wu said: “Respecting others is a basic moral ethic — not a particular standard to which to aspire,”
Meanwhile, Action Electronics deputy chief executive Sun Yi-min (孫逸民) said the ad was aimed simply at promoting the company’s latest product and not at disrespecting anyone.