Apple Ad
A Screenshot Of An Apple Ipad Ad
To enlarge / A screenshot of an Apple iPad ad.

Apple via YouTube

An ad for Apple’s new iPad tablet, which shows musical instruments, art instruments and games being crushed by a giant hydraulic press, has been attacked for cultural sensitivity in an online backlash.

The one-minute video was released by Apple chief executive Tim Cook to promote the new iPad range, the first time the US tech giant has overhauled the range in two years as it looks to turn around faltering sales.

The campaign is the soundtrack to Sonny and Cher’s 1971 hit All I Need Is You— designed to show just how much Apple can cram into a thinner tablet. According to trade press reports, the ad was produced in-house by Apple’s creative team.

The campaign was met with a wave of outrage, with responses on social media reacting to Cook’s X post accusing Apple of crushing “beautiful creative tools” and “symbols of human creativity and cultural achievement”.

Advertising industry executives argued that the ad was a misstep for the Silicon Valley giant, which was praised for its ability to capture consumers’ attention through past campaigns under late co-founder Steve Jobs.

Christopher Slevin, creative director of marketing agency Inkling Culture, compared the iPad ad unfavorably to the famous Ridley Scott-directed “1984” Apple campaign for the original Macintosh computer, which liberated Apple from a dystopian, monochrome world.

“The point of Apple’s new iPad is, in fact, a reversal of what they said they wanted to destroy in their 1984 ad,” Slevin said.

In X, actor Hugh Grant accused Apple of “destroying the human experience courtesy of Silicon Valley.”

However, Richard Exon, founder of marketing agency Joint, said: “The more important question is: is the ad doing its job? It’s memorable, it’s different, and now I know the new iPad has more, but it’s thinner than ever.

Consumer insights platform Zappi conducted consumer research on the ad, which suggests the idea of ​​hydraulic press crushing art is divisive.

It said the ad underperformed benchmarks on commonly sought-after emotions such as happiness and laughter and over-performed on traditionally negative emotions such as shock and confusion, with older people more likely to react negatively than younger consumers.

Nathalie Kelly, Zappi’s chief marketing officer, said: “Is the Apple iPad ad a work of genius or a sign of dystopian times? It really depends on how old you are. Shock value is the strength of this ad, which is controversial by design, so it’s a win that people are talking about it at all.”

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

© 2024 The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved. May not be redistributed, copied or modified in any way.