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Comedian Ellen DeGeneres apologizes for iPhone commercial parody

post #1 of 147
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Comedian Ellen Degeneres claimed she upset Apple officials with a parody of the company's iPhone commercials, prompting the talk show host to apologize for jokingly portraying the touchscreen device as difficult to use.

The host of the syndicated program "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" said on her program that representatives from Apple contacted her regarding a parody commercial she had aired on her program.

"I thought it was funny, a bunch of people thought it was funny," she said to her audience. "You know who didn't think it was funny? Yeah, the people at Apple didn't think it was so funny."

In the video, which mimics the style of Apple's instantly recognizable iPhone TV commercials, DeGeneres stumbles through a number of features on the handset, coming up only with failure. In an attempt to text, she pulls up the maps application. The parody shows the comedian trying to text again and mistakenly sending a message, before asking, "Can you help me with this?"

The next day on her show, DeGeneres showed the commercial again, and followed it up by praising a number of Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod and iPad. She then gave a tongue-in-cheek apology to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and "Mr. Macintosh."

"They thought I made it look like it's hard to use, and I just want to say that I'm sorry if I made it like the iPhone is hard to use. It's not hard to use. I have an iPhone... I just learned how to text on an iPhone, it's the only phone that I can text on, and I love it."

"I love my iPad, I love my iPod," she said to applause from the audience. "I love IHOP, if you have anything to do with that."



Engadget editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky, who originally posted the video, gave a succinct reaction: "After watching this video, we've come to one conclusion: Apple needs to learn how to take a joke."
post #2 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Comedian Ellen Degeneres claimed she upset Apple officials with a parody of the company's iPh
Engadget editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky, who originally posted the video, gave a succinct reaction: "After watching this video, we've come to one conclusion: Apple needs to learn how to take a joke."

perhaps someone needs to learn how to tell a joke :-)
post #3 of 147
It's a flippin' joke! No need for her to apologize. People at Apple need to grow a thicker skin or better yet, STFU and roll with the punches.

Ellen's parody exactly mirrors my mom trying to use my 3GS.
post #4 of 147
Well is that all the information we're going to get?

I'd like to know what the actual basis (possibly legal) for Apple's complaint was and how she actually got the complaint, and exactly who at Apple did the complaining.

Note that she didn't simply "say" things or make claims about the iPhone, but rather, she actually demonstrated its physical use via a fake commercial aired on her show.
post #5 of 147
Not sure who looks the bigger fool here, Apple for complaining or DeGeneres for apologizing.
post #6 of 147
Apple needs to put a little more polish on their public relations efforts. They're coming off as a bit bullying in the eyes of the public, at least that's the impression I've been getting (not my own feelings).

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post #7 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"I thought it was funny, a bunch of people thought it was funny," she said to her audience. "You know who didn't think it was funny? Yeah, the people at Apple didn't think it was so funny."

hmmm, i have so far thought that apple have been reasonable in most of their actions, considering they have a right to protect their products, and desire to see how their brand and their products are perceived and protected.

but she is a comedienne, and if they did indeed not find it funny and thus contacted her asking her to apologize... that's pretty rough. parody and right to free speech are important facets of america and surely a corporation cannot threaten a comedienne and force her to "apologize for parody"... are they paying her wages or do they own the tv station she is employed by? i am not american, thus i do not know the business ins-and-outs of this, but one thing we certainly admire about america is your right to free speech, satire and parody.

what's next? apple might as well threaten legal action when tech reviewers write a negative review of one of their products.
post #8 of 147
Apple, you might have just sent a truck load of iPads over to the taping for a giveaway and come out on top of this one.
post #9 of 147
1- It doesn't sound funny. 2- Apple is stupid for complaining 3- She is stupid for apologizing.
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post #10 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by xtss33 View Post

Apple, you might have just sent a truck load of iPads over to the taping for a giveaway and come out on top of this one.

I second that!
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na na na na na...
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post #11 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Apple needs to put a little more polish on their public relations efforts. They're coming off as a bit bullying in the eyes of the public, at least that's the impression I've been getting (not my own feelings).

I agree. The company needs to chill out a bit. (And that's my own feeling.)
post #12 of 147
Oh come on.
Who even says Apple officially contacted her? She's a comedian telling jokes. Apple would never seriously complain about a joke (although they might grumble about it.) Her apology is just a joke too.
The only people who look stupid are those who take this whole thing seriously in any way whatsoever.
post #13 of 147
I assume the apology is as much a joke as the ad.
post #14 of 147
http://www.drivecellsafe.ca/



Not sure why they use iPhone here...
post #15 of 147
if you're too stoopid to use an iphone, you shouldn't brag about it...

post #16 of 147
Unbelievable. Apple needs thicker skin.
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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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post #17 of 147
If it's true that Apple complained, the most sensible comments in this are those from the Endgadget editor.
post #18 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Apple needs to put a little more polish on their public relations efforts. They're coming off as a bit bullying in the eyes of the public, at least that's the impression I've been getting (not my own feelings).

I think a little too much is being read into this on one level and not enough on the other. Note that Ellen's "apology" included her playing the spoof again. I don't think David Letterman repeated the joke he made about Palin's daughter a second time before apologizing. Michael Richards didn't show a clip of his outburst prior to apologizing. I don't think Ellen crossed any legal boundaries as it looks like they made the clips themselves as demonstrated by input and Portia's reply.

What I think may have happened is that Apple's PR made a phone call to Ellen's people about a completely legal but potential damaging spoof to an audience may not typically be the most tech savvy crowd. Perhaps all Apple's PR team did was request that Ellen make it clear that the iPhone is easy to use and perhaps pay her show a nice little fee and/or offer some nice Apple swag for the favour.

PS: I found it very funny.
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #19 of 147
She's lucky Apple simply demanded an apology and didn't send the thought police after her. Repeat after me "Apple is perfect in every way". See roughlydrafted.com for more info.
post #20 of 147
Ellen D. is nothing but a lousy prop comic. I agree with anyone who said it wasn't funny, Apple should have ignored it, she shouldn't have apologized.

But she should apologize for being nothing but a lousy prop comic.
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post #21 of 147
Y'know, I'm not around to watch her show, never knew about this until I saw this article, now that I have seen it I find it pretty funny. She should have said something like "Please don't break down my door, please don't take my computers and my furniture away, I'm soooo sorry, really, I'll buy your stuff, whatever you want, just leave me alone!"
post #22 of 147
Not defending Apple's reaction, but my guess is that it comes down to the fact that Apple is a signature sponsor of American Idol. This must cost millions. Since Ellen is a judge of American Idol, they are probably not thrilled with her poking fun at their products.
post #23 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by yanlesin View Post

http://www.drivecellsafe.ca/

Not sure why they use iPhone here...

I'm in BC. Good commercial.

Two thoughts...
1) the iPhone truly is a recognizable device now (say that 2 years ago).
2) the iPhone survived a car crash.
post #24 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think a little too much is being read into this on one level and not enough on the other. Note that Ellen's "apology" included her playing the spoof again. I don't think David Letterman repeated the joke he made about Palin's daughter a second time before apologizing. I don't think Ellen crossed any legal boundaries as it looks like they made the clips themselves as demonstrated by input and Portia's reply.

What I think may have happened is that Apple's PR made a phone call to Ellen's people about a completely legal but potential damaging spoof to an audience may not typically be the most tech savvy crowd. Perhaps all Apple's PR team did was request that Ellen make it clear that the iPhone is easy to use and perhaps pay her show a nice little fee and/or offer some nice Apple swag for the favour.

PS: I found it very funny.

I also think that part of the issue was that the video looked exactly like a real Apple ad with Apple logos and everything. I think that was the main issue here. Many talk shows made fun of the iPhone and iPad but no one complained and no one apologized.
post #25 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tofino View Post

if you're too stoopid to use an iphone, you shouldn't brag about it...


That's probably my first thought here. I didn't think her parody was funny at all.

But talk about promotion for the iPhone... money can't buy any better.
post #26 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoopmac View Post

Not defending Apple's reaction, but my guess is that it comes down to the fact that Apple is a signature sponsor of American Idol. This must cost millions. Since Ellen is a judge of American Idol, they are probably not thrilled with her poking fun at their products.

Good point. Welcome to the forum.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #27 of 147
Being that Apple spends big bucks to advertise on the show and American Idol, I can see where it doesn't want it's products to be presented as hard to use.
post #28 of 147
APPLE PR: We saw your parody iPhone ad yesterday.

ELLEN: Great. Did you think it was funny?

APPLE PR: No. Not particularly. Is there anyway we can make your iPhone experience better?

Ellen repeats the parody on her next show and adds that Apple didn't find it funny.

Anti-Apple geeks feel vindicated.
post #29 of 147
Nobody should try to rationalize this. Humor requires no explanations or apologies .

Her crack about liking ihop was sufficient. It's not the worst thing I've seen on TV by far.

Apple should get over it. What kind of public image do they want? I mean really. Don't make fun of Apple!?
post #30 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by dualie View Post

Not sure who looks the bigger fool here, Apple for complaining or DeGeneres for apologizing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Apple needs to put a little more polish on their public relations efforts. They're coming off as a bit bullying in the eyes of the public, at least that's the impression I've been getting (not my own feelings).

I agree. Apple needs to lighten up. I understand they are trying hard to protect their brand, but it makes them come off like stuffy authority figures who can't take a joke. That isn't the image they want. They want to stay young and hip. Young and hip would roll with the joke and maybe have Steve or better yet Justin Long come on her show the next day and give her a lesson on how easy it is to use. It could have been so cool. A wasted opportunity.

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post #31 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by techno View Post

They want to stay young and hip. Young and hip would roll with the joke...

I don't see anything "young and hip" about Ellen's fan base. I see a demographic that might widely be described as "techtarded".
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post #32 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

...Apple should get over it. What kind of public image do they want? I mean really. Don't make fun of Apple!?

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball....

The ihop line was funny.
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post #33 of 147
C'mon Stevo

You dress in a black turtleneck and blue jeans, but man who are you foolin'... you have become worse than an IBM grey suit.

Lighten up dude. Remember the early years! We still believe you haven't lost it!
post #34 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

That's probably my first thought here. I didn't think her parody was funny at all.

But talk about promotion for the iPhone... money can't buy any better.

yup. and she ran it twice! maybe that was apple's plan all along...
post #35 of 147
Interesting to see the iPhone 3GS and Apple logos at the end. If I were Apple I'd certainly object to someone using my logos in that fashion (unless it's a deliberate marketing move by Apple.)
post #36 of 147
Perhaps Apple was concerned with the 'Oprah' factor.
Anything endorsed by Oprah goes gold. Perhaps they felt Ellen held the same clout.

And given the poor execution, one couldn't really tell if the commercial was being serious or mocking.
post #37 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think a little too much is being read into this on one level and not enough on the other. Note that Ellen's "apology" included her playing the spoof again. I don't think David Letterman repeated the joke he made about Palin's daughter a second time before apologizing. Michael Richards didn't show a clip of his outburst prior to apologizing. I don't think Ellen crossed any legal boundaries as it looks like they made the clips themselves as demonstrated by input and Portia's reply.

What I think may have happened is that Apple's PR made a phone call to Ellen's people about a completely legal but potential damaging spoof to an audience may not typically be the most tech savvy crowd. Perhaps all Apple's PR team did was request that Ellen make it clear that the iPhone is easy to use and perhaps pay her show a nice little fee and/or offer some nice Apple swag for the favour.

PS: I found it very funny.

I'm making comments namely about the article author's point of view, which may be tainted with an unfair perspective. If the reality of the situation is different, I'd quickly modify my statement.

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post #38 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by techno View Post

I agree. Apple needs to lighten up. I understand they are trying hard to protect their brand, but it makes them come off like stuffy authority figures who can't take a joke. That isn't the image they want. They want to stay young and hip. Young and hip would roll with the joke and maybe have Steve or better yet Justin Long come on her show the next day and give her a lesson on how easy it is to use. It could have been so cool. A wasted opportunity.

Great suggestion. Both Justin Long and John Hodgman should be hired to do a live spoof on her show. It would get the public back in Apple's corner tut suite!

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post #39 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

Perhaps Apple was concerned with the 'Oprah' factor.
Anything endorsed by Oprah goes gold. Perhaps they felt Ellen held the same clout.

And given the poor execution, one couldn't really tell if the commercial was being serious or mocking.

I don't remember calls being made to comedians over the iPad ruckus. Any press is good press as long as they are basically on your side. Cross the public and they will be slow to forgive.

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post #40 of 147
Nothing to do with protecting Apple from comedians but remember Apple is a major sponsor of Idol where no doubt she is very well paid. So it was tactless for her to do the skit in the first place as it would be for any personality that makes money from a sponsor to make fun of their product. Perhaps this could explain the apology.
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