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Apple's 'Get A Mac' star switches to Huawei

Commentary: Justin Long, he who personified Apple in its greatest years, wants to sell you a phone from a different company in a new ad campaign.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Justin Long. A welcome return?

Huawei/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

What is it with famous spokesmen from tech ads?

Do they adore advertising so much that they just can't get enough? Or does appearing in long-running campaigns affect their acting careers?

Last year, it was Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now" Paul Marcarelli resurrected in ads for rival Sprint.

And now it's Justin Long. The so-very-likable young man who personified the Apple brand -- and mercilessly mocked Bill Gates's Microsoft -- in the long-running and brilliant "Get A Mac" ads is back in the tech arena. As a defector.

He's in a new campaign for Huawei.

The first ad sees him interviewing for the job of directing the ad.

"I have a ton of experience in tech," he begins. "Have I ever directed anything? No. Do I have a director's outfit? A scarf, a hat and a vest? Yes."

And then we see that he's being interviewed by the new Huawei Mate 9 phone, which, instead of speaking, shows him pretty pictures.

There's another 45 seconds of this, sadly. The ad has all the lofty humor of someone wearing a recycling bag at Thanksgiving dinner. It has all the drive of drivel.

Of course, it could be that subsequent ads will be garlanded with memorable wit. My hope springs eternal, or at least to the next session of Congress.

Neither Huawei nor Apple immediately responded to a request for comment. A member of Huawei's ad team did tell Campaign magazine, however, that Long was chosen specifically because of his Apple ad days, which ended in 2009.

The grizzled will suggest that a company that's been accused of copying products shouldn't also take spokesmen from another brand.

The severely grizzled might suggest that if you are going to use another brand's iconic spokesman, the ads had better be very, very good.