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Apple uses Olympics to turn its geniuses into new Justin Longs

In three spots airing during the Olympics opening ceremony telecast, Apple decides to create a new emotional relationship between potential customers and the very clever members of its Genius Bar.

TheMateen110/YouTube Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You've missed Justin Long, haven't you?

He was young and cute and clever. Yes, in the days that Apple was too.

But he went off with Drew Barrymore and made movies and Apple decided that poking Microsoft in its ads was just not fun anymore.

Now, though, there's a new Long game. For during the Olympics opening ceremony Apple ran three ads that featured a boy genius.

Yes, here was a young man who represented those non-pot-smoking, never-looked-at-the-naked-photos-of-your-lover, always-on-time boys who work in the Genius Bar.

In one ad, we see that these geniuses are so committed to Cupertino's cause that they wear their pretty blue T-shirts when they're off to have their, um, two-day holidays in Cancun.

Yes, a husband has forgotten his anniversary and he wants to make an iMovie on his Mac.

The potential for disaster is all too clear. His wife might leave him. She might take half his Mac. So the cabin crew wonders if there's a genius on board. Oh, you can guess the rest. (Apologies that at the time of this writing, Apple hadn't yet uploaded nice versions of these things.)

In another, a man has bought what he thinks is "basically" a Mac, but isn't. Oddly, he finds himself boasting to a genius. Have you ever tried boasting to a genius? It's basically not a good idea.

The genius is remarkably polite in the circumstances. This man has bought his machine from a cowboy across the road. This is like buying your pot from someone who has never heard of Joni Mitchell.

The final ad features the height of ill-manners. The poor boy genius is at home, not a whiff of smoke emerging from his apartment. Yes, he's had a hard day. He hasn't even changed out of his corporate blue T-shirt.

Actually, he sleeps in it. It's 4 a.m. No subliminal messages there, then.

Still, Mr. Green, the obstreperous neighbor, desperately wants help. His wife is having a baby. Of course he doesn't need help with the delivery. He is a modern man. He needs help with the delivery of a photo-card to announce the birth.

Will the boy genius call him an irritating pipsqueak and slam the door in his insolent face? Of course not. He will help. He will even fetch him an ambulance.

You can see where Apple is going with these charmers. It's creating more human identity, more emotive charm. It's making its stores seem like universities where they actually pay people to go. Yes, like some schools in the SEC.

Yet one can imagine the poor boys at the Mac coal-face seeing these and thinking: "Oh, hell. Now I'm going to have people pestering me on planes and knocking on my door in the middle of the night."

Fame is a cruel and heartless mistress.