Ben Thompson on Apple's New *Misunderstood* Commercial
Having updated his article on Apple’s latest ad, Ben Thompson finally delved in to the reason so many fell in love with this commercial in the first place, and the reason so many have talked about it. As I said earlier this video hits so close to home because it does not focus on feature comparisons or implausible situations necessitating eighteen processors, but instead on the experiences Apple’s devices enable:
“By letting go of tangible product features — and, by exploiting a brand promise developed over the last decade — Apple is associating its flagship product with the happy resolution of that deep-seated longing on both sides, resulting in an emotion far more real than any possible articulation of a feature or spec.”
Ben took this notion a step further by clearly defining the gap Apple’s iPhone bridged in this commercial, and I could not agree more with both that point and his final one that this — Apple’s ads and this one in particular — is advertising at its finest. After reading his article though, I have a few tangential thoughts to share:
Like Ben I also saw a number of people snarkily commenting on this video, mostly on Twitter, searching for any reason — no matter how far-fetched — to discredit Apple’s impressive work here. For example, perhaps the most frequent criticism cites the implausibility of one’s grandparents owning an Apple TV as if doing so in some way takes away from the video’s significance. I can hardly justify dignifying such an insignificant point with any response other than pure derision. As I know I have said before, if that is the only disparagement you can come up with perhaps you ought to do something more productive and waste less of my time: although Apple TVs remain a “hobby” at Apple, the product has been around for nearly seven years already over which it has become an increasingly less marginalized product adopted by a growing number of consumers each year. Perhaps your grandparents still have one of those TVs controlled with a rotating dial, but mine do not; basing your entire argument on such a flimsy base of evidence, then, is nothing short of asinine.
But wait, there’s more.
Ben also pointed out that many naysayers have had so little footing from which to complain that they also criticized Apple’s commercial for promoting “recording your family over actually spending time with your family”. In my opinion, Ben’s response1 was far too harsh: as an intelligent, technologically-minded community we know how significant an impact commercials like these have on today’s teenagers. Have we learned nothing from Samsung’s outrageous GS4 presentation? Blame for the misogynistic tendencies all too prevalent in today’s youth clearly belongs to the world’s premiere tech companies. And then, as if one company ruining the world’s youth was not enough, Apple comes along with this “Christmas” commercial telling kids to spend less time with their families. Smh. After all, it’s not as if anything else would prompt today’s teens to spend a disproportionate amount of time on their phones: the App Store only has a paltry million apps, social networks only come and go every few months, and Instagram — seriously? That’s so last week — no one I know spends any times taking pictures and interacting with their friends on there anymore. And that’s to say nothing of texting or phone calls which, again, no one I know does anymore. Clearly, given the lack of any other incentive kids have for spending time on their phones, the blame must fall to Apple, and saying anything else would be to devolve into one of those Apple fanbois.
Yes, with an “i”. Because that makes sense.
↩ “But I think that’s a touch too cynical, and misses the impact of this ad.”