Apple Apologises For ‘Tone Deaf’ Culture Crushing iPad Ad 

Apple Apologises For ‘Tone Deaf’ Culture Crushing iPad Ad 

Apple has apologised for ‘missing the mark’ in an ad that literally crushes cultural icons to promote its latest iPad. 

The tech behemoth, often praised for its advertising, received a huge backlash from the likes of Hugh Grant, actors and musicians after the spot depicted a hydraulic press destroying a piano, guitar, old records, pots of paint, video game machine and other culturally significant artistic objects that consumers use.

Apple marketing VP Tor Myhren told Ad Age “Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad. We missed the mark with this video, and we’re sorry.”

The aim of the spot, which has been pulled from running on TV, is to illustrate the power and thinness of the new iPad Pro, but it has been criticised by critics as a dystopian culture crusher.

System1, which measures how consumers emotionally respond to video ads, tested the spot. It received a low star rating of 1.9 (which predicts long-term market share growth), a low spike rating of 0.78 (which indicates short-term sales potential) and modest fluency rating of 77 (brand recognition).

“Back when I was a kid I wanted to be the women in your 1984 commercial (see video below) raging against the boring uniformity of the PC machine,” System1 chief customer officer and host of the Uncensored CMO podcast Jon Evans said. “Now I fear you may have become the machine.

“You left people a little surprised with a fair amount of negative emotion and quite a few people didn’t even realise it was an advert for apple.”

The British actor Hugh Grant also didn’t like the ad, posting on Twitter: “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.”

Justine Bateman, a film-maker and critics of the impact of AI on the arts and creative industries, questioned why Apple would create an ad that “crushes the arts” and believes tech and AI “mean to destroy the arts and society in general”.

On LinkedIn, OK Tomorrow founder and former Wieden+Kennedy director of creative technology Nilesh Ashra posted: “This iPad ad will take some beating as the most hilariously tone-deaf idea of the year”.     

Guillaume Orhant, the co-founder of Sustainamics and an experienced marketing director who has previously worked for Hasbro, Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser, said the ad was a case of good strategy, “you can have all of this in a thin iPad”, but a poor and polarising ad idea, “stop playing music and crush your cool vinyls and instruments and retro games you love”. He added: “Tech will crush your guilty or intimate pleasures”.

Not everyone hates the ad. Dawn founder and creative director Shachar Aylon said people are overthinking it: “It’s just a fun way to visualise how much they packed into the thinnest iPad yet, inspired by the weirdly mesmerising hydraulic press videos on TikTok/Youtube.”

The ad has drawn comparisons with Apple’s famous 1984 ad to sell its Apple Macintosh computer, which suggested that the machine would prevent humanity from descending into a dystopian future described in the George Orwell novel, 1984.


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