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Apple's holiday iPhone ad focuses on family, tugs at heartstrings [u]

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Apple marked a return to its "quiet" iPhone ad campaign on Monday with a holiday-themed television commercial, this time using the iPhone 5s and AirPlay to create a touching portrait of the modern family Christmas.

Update: Apple has also posted to its YouTube page the full "Harris family holiday" video featured in its "Misunderstood" ad. The clip, which Apple says was shot entirely on an iPhone 5s, is embedded below.

iPhone Christmas


Like other great Apple ads, Monday's "Misunderstood" commercial is layered. In the spirit of the company's "quiet" ad campaign, the holiday iPhone spot goes beyond the product to tell a story of how technology has affected, and continues to affect, our culture.

Almost every iPhone owner, or anyone who knows an iPhone owner, can attest to the absorbing nature of a device that has mobile access to the Internet, communications and millions of powerful apps. For many, the iPhone is an escapist luxury, even more so when put in the hands of a stereotypical teenager.

With a solo piano rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" lilting in the background, the spot quickly establishes the main character, in this case a teenager on his way to visit family for the holidays. Leaving home during winter vacation is hardly the ideal situation for many youngsters, and the boy quickly buries his nose in his iPhone 5s after watching his house draw fade out of view.

Scene after scene, the audience is shown typical Christmas traditions; sledding, decorating the Christmas tree, building a snowman. Each jump cut finds the boy in the same place: on his iPhone, seemingly separated from the group. One sequence has a family member throwing a pair of what looks to be mittens or socks at the iPhone to get his attention.

The boy is, however, intent on finishing whatever it is he's doing.

About halfway through, the ad cuts to Christmas morning and we find our protagonist still on the smartphone as his younger sister hurries downstairs to open presents. As the family tears into boxes, the music abruptly cuts out and we see the boy move toward the TV.


Source: Apple's YouTube channel


And the twist. He beams a holiday video shot and edited entirely on his iPhone 5s to an Apple TV, which can just be made out by its white LED. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" fades in, with lyrics this time. From arrival to Christmas Eve (and in a neat little payoff, a slo-mo capture of the sock-throwing sequence), we see a chronicle of the entire trip. Instead of playing Angry Birds Go! or Tiny Death Star while his relatives enjoyed each other's company, he was busy making a special surprise gift.

The clip ends with a "selfie" of the young man, smiling in front of the Christmas tree in a kind of signature closing credits for the homemade montage. The family applauds, mom and grandma cry and Apple marketing chalks up another win.

The last frame flashes a "Happy Holidays" message with a disclaimer regarding AirPlay, noting additional hardware is needed to use the feature. The notice serves as proof that Apple has gone so far past the norm in its product spots, that in some cases the product isn't even shown.



As with other commercials in the ongoing iPhone campaign, Apple implies powerful features through a storyboard narrative. No specs are presented, no fanfare or device worship; just a simple story about a family Christmas. The iPhone and AirPlay are secondary players to the characters who use them, and that is what makes the ad stand out.
post #2 of 50
Very nice. We need a better video of the video tho.

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post #3 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by IHateRegistering View Post

Very nice. We need a better video of the video tho.

Seriously. I understand the need to post as quickly as you can but they should at least wait until Apple posts an official video or someone posts a good copy before they submit their article.

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post #4 of 50
It's up on YouTube now in an Apple version.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ImlmVqH_5HM
post #5 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Seriously. I understand the need to post as quickly as you can but they should at least wait until Apple posts an official video or someone posts a good copy before they submit their article.

C'mon, it was a nice advertisement for Snoopy, no?

The little guy needs a bit more exposure these days!
Edited by GTR - 12/16/13 at 11:40pm
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post #6 of 50
Its such a beautiful ad, I watched it three times. It's almost disturbing because the teen seems so affected, almost disturbed and then it turns, and it's a powerful turn and perfectly executed.
post #7 of 50
The title of this ad is "misunderstood". Based on some of the comments I've seen elsewhere I think that is the perfect title. 1smile.gif
post #8 of 50
Beautifully done. Fortunately the whole presentation on TV is appropriately in landscape, in spite of the fact that he was always working in portrait !

It's a somewhat surprising lack of continuity from a company that usually gets a lot of these details right and you would think that the cinematographers that produced this should've thought of that too. On the other hand they probably simply wanted to portray the stereotypical teenager glued to their phone in a texting pose as most people would expect to see.
post #9 of 50

Samsung in response to Apple's new ad will be releasing a new commercial showing a slideshow of specs with a graph of number of smartphones shipped to heavy metal music.

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post #10 of 50
Apple posted the full ad that was shot on the iPhone.

http://youtu.be/JEGLhdaFBSE
post #11 of 50
I actually started tearing up a bit watching this video.

Hats off to the Apple team.

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post #12 of 50
But....but....Samsung...
post #13 of 50
Well done. Theyre finding a new voice and it's awesome.
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post

I actually started tearing up a bit watching this video.

Hats off to the Apple team.
Same here.

What a beatiful way to advertise a hitech product. Congratulations to the production team.

And so different from everithing else. No mockery against competition!
post #15 of 50
Quote:
The iPhone and AirPlay are secondary players to the characters who use them, and that is what makes the ad stand out.

Exactly...and what Apple's competitors will never get.

 

Well done Apple, well done.


Edited by richsadams - 12/17/13 at 9:33am
post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post

Same here.

What a beatiful way to advertise a hitech product. Congratulations to the production team.

And so different from everithing else. No mockery against competition!

No recognition that competition even exists. The drama is "art triumphs over negative expectations." Art that's enabled by the hitech product.

And the photography, with the lights against the winter greyness, the slow motion mood shots, just beautiful work, like you say.
post #17 of 50
So since they are playing "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" why do they say a generic "Happy Holidays"?
post #18 of 50

Very moving, something to bear in mind as we swelter in blistering heat celebrating Christmas in Australia...

 

/sigh

 

I will probably indulge in a BBQ at the beach as usual.

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post #19 of 50
This is a fantastic add. I too felt moved by it, even though I don't really like Christmas (it might have something to do with the fact that here it's usually 38 Celsius on 12/25)


About competition ads, I have to say that the one google made for the Nexus 5 was really well done, too.
It is no match to this one, this was like a short movie. But still think that not all ads are "crap" like the MS/Nokia embarrassments.
post #20 of 50
The ad itself made me cry.
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post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jony0 View Post

Beautifully done. Fortunately the whole presentation on TV is appropriately in landscape, in spite of the fact that he was always working in portrait !

It's a somewhat surprising lack of continuity from a company that usually gets a lot of these details right and you would think that the cinematographers that produced this should've thought of that too. On the other hand they probably simply wanted to portray the stereotypical teenager glued to their phone in a texting pose as most people would expect to see.

Well spotted. That point does somewhat ruin the ad for me.
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post #22 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigybank View Post

So since they are playing "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" why do they say a generic "Happy Holidays"?
1smoking.gif
Because in the United States saying the phrase Merry Christmas these days isn't politically correct. 1rolleyes.gif I almost wish they would have said nothing at all and just showed the Apple logo at the end.
post #23 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jony0 View Post

Beautifully done. Fortunately the whole presentation on TV is appropriately in landscape, in spite of the fact that he was always working in portrait !

It's a somewhat surprising lack of continuity from a company that usually gets a lot of these details right and you would think that the cinematographers that produced this should've thought of that too. On the other hand they probably simply wanted to portray the stereotypical teenager glued to their phone in a texting pose as most people would expect to see.

I thought the same thing, beautiful ad but why don't they fix vertical filming?

http://www.dvice.com/2013-9-18/opinion-why-doesnt-ios-7-end-tallscreen-video



It shouldn't even be possible to shoot video in a vertical orientation. You can hold a phone much more steadily in portrait but the sensor should capture widescreen at all times.

It also shouldn't allow you to tilt the video, the video should always be upright - in other words if you point at a tree and tilt 30 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees left, the final video should still show an upright tree. The video that comes from the phone should look like professional video from a shoulder-mounted camera. A shoulder-mounted or tripod-mounted camera has very little tilt capability and it's almost never used. It makes videos look amateur. iPhones have sensors that detect the slightest tilt so they should be able to keep the orientation upright. This would help the majority of user videos to be far higher quality with less chance of dropping the phone when filming. They can have overrides for special cases like maybe on a roller-coaster but they can also just store the accelerometer/gyro data along with the video as an option to correct movement later on.

Anyway, it's good to see them keeping making ads like this. They really help show off their company values and it's such a contrast with what their competition comes out with.
post #24 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jony0 View Post

Beautifully done. Fortunately the whole presentation on TV is appropriately in landscape, in spite of the fact that he was always working in portrait !

It's a somewhat surprising lack of continuity from a company that usually gets a lot of these details right and you would think that the cinematographers that produced this should've thought of that too. On the other hand they probably simply wanted to portray the stereotypical teenager glued to their phone in a texting pose as most people would expect to see.

Why can't the kid have not used or crop the video he shot in portrait to only show a landscaped portion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I thought the same thing, beautiful ad but why don't they fix vertical filming?

http://www.dvice.com/2013-9-18/opinion-why-doesnt-ios-7-end-tallscreen-video


video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt9zSfinwFA

It shouldn't even be possible to shoot video in a vertical orientation. You can hold a phone much more steadily in portrait but the sensor should capture widescreen at all times.

It also shouldn't allow you to tilt the video, the video should always be upright - in other words if you point at a tree and tilt 30 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees left, the final video should still show an upright tree. The video that comes from the phone should look like professional video from a shoulder-mounted camera. A shoulder-mounted or tripod-mounted camera has very little tilt capability and it's almost never used. It makes videos look amateur. iPhones have sensors that detect the slightest tilt so they should be able to keep the orientation upright. This would help the majority of user videos to be far higher quality with less chance of dropping the phone when filming. They can have overrides for special cases like maybe on a roller-coaster but they can also just store the accelerometer/gyro data along with the video as an option to correct movement later on.

Anyway, it's good to see them keeping making ads like this. They really help show off their company values and it's such a contrast with what their competition comes out with.

I wonder if an L-shaped sensor could allow for both landscape in both portrait and landscape. Or would the lens and other components need to be converted, too? (Idea came from NasserAE)
Edited by SolipsismX - 12/17/13 at 11:53am

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post #25 of 50
I don't understand why people think that 'happy holidays' more politically correct. The holiday season runs from sometime just after Halloween to after New Year's Eve. I've always felt that, and most people I know also think that way. So if you're saying happy holidays you're covering all of those holidays. Also, there are people that don't celebrate Christmas. However they most likely do celebrate New Year's and Thanksgiving. Therefore saying 'happy holidays' includes them also. Around Christmas I say Merry Christmas.

It's not being politically correct, it's being inclusive of everybody during the holiday season.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

1smoking.gif
Because in the United States saying the phrase Merry Christmas these days isn't politically correct. 1rolleyes.gif I almost wish they would have said nothing at all and just showed the Apple logo at the end.
post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by DiegoG View Post

I don't understand why people think that 'happy holidays' more politically correct. The holiday season runs from sometime just after Halloween to after New Year's Eve. I've always felt that, and most people I know also think that way. So if you're saying happy holidays you're covering all of those holidays. Also, there are people that don't celebrate Christmas. However they most likely do celebrate New Year's and Thanksgiving. Therefore saying 'happy holidays' includes them also. Around Christmas I say Merry Christmas.

It's not being politically correct, it's being inclusive of everybody during the holiday season.
But the song used in the video is called Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Is that inclusive of people who don't celebrate Christmas?
post #27 of 50
Beautiful!!! It made this grandfather cry!
post #28 of 50
The song is a Christmas Carol and the video being shot is on Christmas day. If the song playing was Auld Lang Syne and the video is about New Year's eve and at the end they said happy holidays it would be appropriate also. Christmas is a holidayduring the holiday season. Therefore happy holidays is still appropriate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

But the song used in the video is called Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Is that inclusive of people who don't celebrate Christmas?
post #29 of 50
Originally Posted by DiegoG View Post
If the song playing was Auld Lang Syne and the video is about New Year's eve and at the end they said happy holidays it would be appropriate also.

 

Following the Gregorian calendar is offensive to me. I demand you not show media about it.

post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I thought the same thing, beautiful ad but why don't they fix vertical filming?

It shouldn't even be possible to shoot video in a vertical orientation. You can hold a phone much more steadily in portrait but the sensor should capture widescreen at all times.

It also shouldn't allow you to tilt the video, the video should always be upright - in other words if you point at a tree and tilt 30 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees left, the final video should still show an upright tree. The video that comes from the phone should look like professional video from a shoulder-mounted camera. A shoulder-mounted or tripod-mounted camera has very little tilt capability and it's almost never used. It makes videos look amateur. iPhones have sensors that detect the slightest tilt so they should be able to keep the orientation upright. This would help the majority of user videos to be far higher quality with less chance of dropping the phone when filming. They can have overrides for special cases like maybe on a roller-coaster but they can also just store the accelerometer/gyro data along with the video as an option to correct movement later on.

Anyway, it's good to see them keeping making ads like this. They really help show off their company values and it's such a contrast with what their competition comes out with.

Phooey. Both portrait and "Dutch angles" are necessary or at least desired in many cases. Do I need to cite examples?

Also, in the ad, if there was even one moment of horizontal picture-taking it would have given away the ending.
post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Following the Gregorian calendar is offensive to me. I demand you not show media about it.

It's true we humans lost our connection to nature when we went from a 13-moon year to a 12-month solar year.

But Happy Solstice anyway.
post #32 of 50

It's a great compromise. The story is about a specific family and that specific family is celebrating Christmas. But since Apple wants sell as many idevices as possible, they open up the message a little to everyone else at the end. Well played. An easy way to speak to more people with a touching story. 

post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I thought the same thing, beautiful ad but why don't they fix vertical filming?

http://www.dvice.com/2013-9-18/opinion-why-doesnt-ios-7-end-tallscreen-video



It shouldn't even be possible to shoot video in a vertical orientation. You can hold a phone much more steadily in portrait but the sensor should capture widescreen at all times.

It also shouldn't allow you to tilt the video, the video should always be upright - in other words if you point at a tree and tilt 30 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees left, the final video should still show an upright tree. The video that comes from the phone should look like professional video from a shoulder-mounted camera. A shoulder-mounted or tripod-mounted camera has very little tilt capability and it's almost never used. It makes videos look amateur. iPhones have sensors that detect the slightest tilt so they should be able to keep the orientation upright. This would help the majority of user videos to be far higher quality with less chance of dropping the phone when filming. They can have overrides for special cases like maybe on a roller-coaster but they can also just store the accelerometer/gyro data along with the video as an option to correct movement later on.

Anyway, it's good to see them keeping making ads like this. They really help show off their company values and it's such a contrast with what their competition comes out with.

 

To me it looked like the kid was editing or something.  I mean how many socks did the gramps throw at the kid?  Wasn't there one scene in portrait with an elderly couple hugging?  Did he use iMovie?

 

It's a dramatized commercial.  Not a documentary.  

post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jony0 View Post

Beautifully done. Fortunately the whole presentation on TV is appropriately in landscape, in spite of the fact that he was always working in portrait !

It's a somewhat surprising lack of continuity from a company that usually gets a lot of these details right and you would think that the cinematographers that produced this should've thought of that too. On the other hand they probably simply wanted to portray the stereotypical teenager glued to their phone in a texting pose as most people would expect to see.

He edited in portrait, and also in landscape (in the morning on the couch): possibly that gives better access to toolsets or has some other advantage? The one shot in portrait shown from behind the subject was when his grandfather throws a sock at him, an easy crop.


Edited by jfc1138 - 12/17/13 at 10:08am
post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


I thought the same thing, beautiful ad but why don't they fix vertical filming?

http://www.dvice.com/2013-9-18/opinion-why-doesnt-ios-7-end-tallscreen-video
 

 

Thanks for the link and video, I will promptly forward both to all the people I have chastised in the past as a reminder.

post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It shouldn't even be possible to shoot video in a vertical orientation.

I also don't like all these vertical videos I see. Still, I don't think they should disable it. A simple warning could be better. If the only device you are going to watch the video on you just shot is your iPhone, the video shooting experience could even be better. Could, as I think holding my iPhone vertically is much more natural and feels safer to hold than when holding it horizontally.

Some musicians have the videoscreens put up in portrait mode because it is the artist they want to see from hair to feet:



Anyhoo, that video was hilarious; thanks!
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post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I wonder if an L-shaped sensor could allow for both landscape in both portrait and landscape. Or would the lens and other components need to be converted, too?

Given my other requirement to keep the video upright in any orientation, I was thinking more of a circular sensor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur 
Both portrait and "Dutch angles" are necessary or at least desired in many cases. Do I need to cite examples?

The angle would be optional, just defaulted to fixed vertically. I'll need examples to justify portrait video.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MessagePad2100 
I mean how many socks did the gramps throw at the kid?

Any more than one is abuse and Christmas is no time for that kind of sock abuse. The one he threw was filmed in portrait but displayed widescreen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfc1138 
The one shot in portrait shown from behind the subject was when his grandfather throws a sock at him, an easy crop.

If it was the same take (which I don't think it was as the sock opened differently in each one), it would be possible with a crop. It would just take a video that was 1080x608 and blow it up to 1920x1080. That's close to SD resolution (1024x576) but for a quick shot, it would be usable. It would be easier to just have it widescreen in the first place though.
post #38 of 50

"just have it widescreen in the first place though"

 

​True,also  it might have started as just a cute, his grandfather throws a sock at him and the switch in viewpoint occurred later and they didn't correct for continuity amongst, as you say, the multiple takes.

post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jony0 View Post

Beautifully done. Fortunately the whole presentation on TV is appropriately in landscape, in spite of the fact that he was always working in portrait !
 

 

Was he shooting or was he editing?

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post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I'll need examples to justify portrait video.

IPhones make good cameras for close-up stereo (3D) video, because of the position of the lens. You can get two lenses very close together, meaning that you can get about 3 inches from the subject and still get good 3D.

Each camera would be in portrait mode to give you two squarish images side by side, roughly the same aspect as a Victorian stereocard. Ideal for the iPad mini in landscape.

And Phil gives another use case above. Never disable features out of discipline toward abusers, would be my take.

Edit: Gruber says let us not "niggle" about this today.
Edited by Flaneur - 12/17/13 at 1:51pm
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