A new television advertisement airing in Taiwan has an actor with angel wings and a halo doing a thinly-veiled imitation of Steve Jobs, to promote a tablet called the “Action Pad.”
The ad, which appeared to hit airwaves starting last month, features an actor impersonating Apple’s former CEO, wearing Jobs’ trademark black turtleneck shirt, along with glasses and a gray wig. It does not refer to Jobs, who died in October last year, by name.
In the ad, the Jobs character introduces the Action Pad tablet, which is from a Taiwanese company called Action Electronics. “It’s amazing,” the Jobs character says in English. He then speaks in Chinese with a foreign accent, adding, “Finally, I can play with another pad.”
An Action Electronics representative said on Wednesday the company chose to use Jobs in the television ad because of the innovation he brought to technology. “We praise Jobs,” she said. “Jobs has done great things, and we also want to do the same.”
It’s common for people to pay homage to famous figures like Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga for their influence, she added.
“We are not trying to use his death,” the spokeswoman said. “This is not meant to make fun of Jobs.”
But not all agree with the ad’s intentions. “I saw it and my first feeling was it was disrespectful to the dead,” said CK Lu, an analyst with research firm Gartner.
It’s common for Taiwanese television to poke fun at famous figures such as U.S. President Barack Obama and Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou, he said. “But again playing someone dead is not appropriate I am afraid,” Lu added.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a similar case, Apple moved to stop another company called In Icons from manufacturing figurines built in the likeness of Jobs. Last month, the company said it would stop the sale of the figurines after threats of legal action from Apple and Jobs’ family.
Action Electronics has not had any contact with Apple, according to the company representative. TheAction Pad operates with the Android 2.3.3 operating system and is priced at NT$6,999 (US$236). The tablet is built with a 1.2 GHz dual core processor and has a 7-inch touchscreen.