(Please note strong language in fifth paragraph)
By Jonathan Standing
TAIPEI (Reuters) - He may have derided Android devices in real life but in the afterlife Apple Inc founder Steve Jobs is glad he can use one — or at least that’s the story a Jobs look-alike tells in a recent TV commercial for a Taiwanese electronics company’s new product.
In the ad, Taiwanese comedian and impersonator Ah-Ken, dressed in Jobs’ trademark black turtle neck sweater and blue jeans and sporting white angel’s wings and a halo, extols the virtues of Action Electronics Co.’s combined tablet PC and multi-language dictionary, which runs on Google Inc’s Android.
“Introducing the new generation of the pad,” says the “Jobs” character, whipping the Action Pad out of his back jeans pocket, wings flapping as he shows off the dictionary functions on a giant screen behind a darkened stage furnished with a sofa and small table.
“Thank God I finally get to play other tablets,” the character adds in the 20-second commercial’s final scene, a broad grin on his face as he taps away on the device on the sofa. The ad is subtitled in English throughout, a nod to the device’s dictionary function.
Jobs, who died in October 2011, famously referred to Android as “shit,” according to his biography, and was quoted in the book as saying he was going to “destroy” Android and was prepared to go to “thermonuclear war” over the product.
“Steve Jobs always promoted things that were good for people, Apple products, so his image can also promote other things that are good,” said Chelsea Chen, a spokeswoman for Action Electronics, a maker of electronic gadgets including portable DVD players and Internet devices.
The commercial does not use Jobs’ name or refer to him or Apple in any way, but has drawn some sharp reactions on YouTube,
with some branding it distasteful and disgusting and one even calling for a boycott of the company. The video is at: (here)
Chen didn’t see any adverse reaction from Apple.
“It’s just an impersonator, not Jobs,” she said.
“We have no choice but to use Android, we can’t use iOS,” she added, referring to Apple’s mobile device operating system.
It’s not the first time Jobs’ image has been used in Taiwan to promote products, a measure of his fame in the wired, tech-exporting island whose companies make most of Apple’s products. Last year a drinks company had a Jobs look-alike promoting a green tea drink.
Jobs has also been featured by Taiwanese satirical news video maker Next Media Animation, which once portrayed him knocking the helmet off “Darth Vader” Bill Gates of Microsoft with a light saber and then wearing it himself and ruling the tech universe from an office in a Death Star.
(This version corrects year of Jobs’ death in fifth paragraph)
Editing by Elaine Lies and Ed Davies