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Huawei takes on Apple by pinching the 'I'm a Mac' guy for latest commercials

Why it matters to you

Justin Long's employment with Huawei is a direct challenge to Apple, which used the actor in Mac commercials more than a decade ago.

Justin Long, known to many as the “I’m a Mac,” guy from those anti-PC, 2000-era Apple commercials, has shown up in his first tech commercial in years, this time promoting Huawei’s new hardware. The new commercials represent Huawei’s attempt to break out into more international markets, to fulfill its goal to become the No. 1 smartphone manufacturer in the world by 2021.

Long has been acting for almost 20 years and has starred in a number of iconic and cult classic movies like Dodgeball, Waiting, Idiocracy and if you’re a fan of director Kevin Smith’s offbeat horror films, Tusk. However, many still remember him best as the Mac in Apple’s adverts, where he would act as the cool, casual alternative to the stuffy, suited and tied PC played by John Hodgman.

That may change following new commercials for Huawei though. The first commercial to feature Long has him playing himself, not a Huawei device, but he does talk to one. The Mate 9 acts as an analogous interviewer, auditioning Long for the job of directing a Huawei commercial for the device. Throughout comments are made about how great the phone looks and seems to operate.

More: Huawei wants to beat Apple and become the world’s largest smartphone vendor

This was just the first of several commercials Long is contracted to be a part of, with the suggestion that allusions will be made to his previous Apple employment, though not explicitly stated. MacRumors has it that Huawei did initially want to make much more overt references, but was talked down by Long, who suggested they make it more subtle.

In the second advertisement, Long is auditioning hardware for various roles in his commercial and who gets the job? A new Huawei laptop, which made him remember his dear, old dog, Rip.

Although the commercials aren’t over the top, there is no denying the fact that Huawei using a formerApple pitchman to help sell its new products is an obvious challenge to MacBook maker. As one of China’s largest handset manufacturers, it is looking to international expansion, hoping that Long’s name and its contemporary, humorous commercials will help raise its profile with western audiences.