Apple's new ad invites backlash  - Brand Innovators

Apple’s new ad invites backlash 

On May 7th, at 11:17am ET, Apple CEO, Tim Cook posted a promotional video to Twitter (will never call it X), highlighting the extreme thinness of the new iPad Pro.

The video, titled “Crush” on YouTube, shows items we typically associate with creativity and spirit – mostly musical instruments, artistic tools and works: A Piano, a Guitar, a sculpture, colorful paints, etc., quite literally being crushed and squished into…an iPad.

It seems, however, that the promo is not having the intended impact, and has invited nearly universal backlash, with responses on Twitter that describe it as “Tone Deaf,” “Really Upsetting,” and “Everything wrong with today’s technological zeitgeist.”

As Adam Singer put it “This ad is (unintentional) perfect metaphor for today’s creative dark age: compress organic instruments, joyful/imperfect machines, tangible art, our entire physical reality into a soulless, postmodern, read-only device a multi-trillion $ corporation controls what you do with.”

Or, as Evan DeSimone-Torres tweeted “If I were a giant tech monopoly, I would consider not making an ad where I literally crush commonly recognized symbols of creativity and joy.”

It’s definitely one of those where you watch it and think: “How did no one stop this? Did they not anticipate the response? Surely, SOMEONE must have realized how this looks, right?”

Michael J. Miraflor summed it up nicely:

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single commercial offend and turn off a core customer base as much as this iPad spot.

Achieves the opposite of their legendary 1984 spot. It’s not even that it’s boring or banal. It makes me feel… bad? Bummed out?”

Matt McDonald agreed “more broadly” but pointed out, in defense of the ad (or at least the thought process behind it), “…as I thought more about this, it’s honestly what we’ve been implicitly doing for years as phones have taken over so many aspects of our lives. I think part of why people are uncomfortable about this is that it’s actually calling us on it.”

And there’s a lot of truth to Matt’s perspective, but it also stresses the distinction between behavior insights and cultural and psychological insights. Behaviorally, it’s spot on. This is what we do. Culturally, Psychologically, it’s not how we like to think of ourselves. There’s a strong cognitive dissonance here between how we act, and how see ourselves. The ad really highlights that disconnect.

As Batman famously said, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

For Apple, perhaps it took 40 years.

So, uh, what do you think of this one?