Its As If Apple Has Hired Don Draper
Originally Posted by AppleInsider
Apple's new ads campaign for iPhone 4 have shifted from "there's an app for that," to a message targeting a specific new app: FaceTime.
A series of four new spots present family members using FaceTime to interact in series of warmly sentimental circumstances reminiscent of the oriental tearjerker spot Apple created and debuted at WWDC.
The new ads present a daughter shy about her braces being coaxed into a smile by her father, a son showing his father his new granddaughter, a girl showing off her new haircut to her boyfriend, and a woman breaking the news to her husband that she's pregnant.
The new spots demonstrate Apple's marketing savvy, as each spot tugs a customers' heartstrings, rather than simply bragging about hardware specs by comparing smartphones to some kind of an alien invasion (as Verizon's odd Droid ads), or presenting a creepy woman muttering about esoteric features (as Palm did with its bizarre Pre commercials).
The other day I was talking to an old friend. Not only is this friend outside the tech sphere, hes just about as opposite of tech savvy as a person can be. Hes basically a luddite. In fact, I was surprised he was even IMing with me, hes so seldom online. But I was more surprised by what he asked me. What do you think of the new iPhone?
Its one thing to know what an iPhone is, but the fact that he was aware that there was a new iPhone caught me a bit off guard. As did the fact that he was talking to me about it. I directed him to my review. But he took one glance at the 3,500+ words and immediately came back at me. I just want to know if its any good. I told him I thought it was the best out there. He thanked me and said goodbye. But before I let him go, I asked him why on Earth he wanted to know. I mean, again, this is a guy who undoubtedly uses one of these types of phones. He said that he travels a lot now and wants a better way to connect with his girlfriend on the road. I asked him, why the iPhone? His answer? The commercial.
Watching Apples iPhone 4 FaceTime commercial again, it reminds me of something: Mad Men. The television show is starting its fourth season in a couple of weeks, but the commercial takes me back to the end of season one an episode called The Wheel. Ive actually talked about this episode before because it contains a scene that is perhaps the best in the entire series. In it, ad man Don Draper gives a presentation to Kodak showing why Sterling Cooper should be handling the account for their new picture projector.
The pitch (which you can see here, but sadly I cant embed) starts out with two execs from Kodak acknowledging that creating an ad around this wheel is hard because wheels arent really seen as exciting technology, even though they are the original. Draper fires back, Technology is a glittering lure. But theres the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash. If they have a sentimental bond with the product.
In the iPhone 4 FaceTime commercial, thats exactly what Apple is playing up. As were all well aware, video chat, even on phones, is nothing new. Sure, Apple has simplified it, but theyre not really showcasing that here. Instead theyre going right for the heart strings. Theyre doing something rather incredible. Theyre conveying how youll feel if you use the product, by making you feel alongside those in the commercial. Theyre creating this sentimental bond.
Draper continues, talking about an old copyrighter he used to work with, Teddy. He also talked about a deeper bond with the product. Nostalgia. Its delicate. But potent. Draper fires up the projector. Teddy told me that in Greek, Nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. Its a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone.
Again, thats this FaceTime commercial. Its not old pictures, but its more powerful. Its loved ones that you havent seen in a while, that youre apart from, right there in front of you, live. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again, as Draper puts it. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Round and around and back home again. To a place where we know were loved.
And Apple goes a step further. Rather than just playing up the family bond which they do with the baby crawling on the bed, the mother with the baby, and the grandparents with the graduating grandchild, Apple shows a pregnant wife getting an ultrasound and her husband in the military, presumably overseas, watching. When the wife hits the button to flip the camera and show the unborn baby on the monitor, they cut to a shot of the husband and his face drops as if hes about to cry. Its extremely powerful stuff.
Then Apple kicks it up another notch. They show a girlfriend waving to a boyfriend through FaceTime just as any other couple might. Only then they reveal that the boyfriend is deaf. But thanks to the video functionality, the two can sign with one another. The commercial wraps with them each looking at the phone in awe after they sign their goodbyes, as if theyve just done something unbelievable. Something extremely important to them. And they have. Its delicate. But potent.
It shouldnt be surprising that Apple hired Hollywood director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road) to direct this commercial. Levels of sentiment that people often feel while watching movies rarely, if ever, travel over to advertising. But they have in this FaceTime commercial, just as they have in Drapers Kodak presentation. Its as if the Apple commercial borrowed a page out of the playbook that Draper was talking about in that episode.
Apple, of course, has a history of great advertising campaigns. From the 1984′ Super Bowl commercial (directed by another Hollywood guy, Ridley Scott), to the Think Different campaign, to the Get a Mac spots, each was effective at conveying different things about the brand. But this latest commercial is the first (to my knowledge) that really aims to connect with people on a deep emotional level. And its going to help Apple sell a massive amount of iPhone 4s.To people like my friend.http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/10/app...me-commercial/