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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.

«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    Very nice. We need a better video of the video tho.
  • Reply 2 of 53
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 53
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    It's up on YouTube now in an Apple version.

  • Reply 4 of 53
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    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!
  • Reply 5 of 53
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 53
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    The title of this ad is "misunderstood". Based on some of the comments I've seen elsewhere I think that is the perfect title. :)
  • Reply 7 of 53
    jony0jony0 Posts: 267member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 53

    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.

  • Reply 9 of 53
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Apple posted the full ad that was shot on the iPhone.

  • Reply 10 of 53
    I actually started tearing up a bit watching this video.

    Hats off to the Apple team.
  • Reply 11 of 53
    But....but....Samsung...
  • Reply 12 of 53
    jakebjakeb Posts: 557member
    Well done. Theyre finding a new voice and it's awesome.
  • Reply 13 of 53
    lostkiwi wrote: »
    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!
  • Reply 14 of 53
    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.

  • Reply 15 of 53
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,466member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 53
    So since they are playing "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" why do they say a generic "Happy Holidays"?
  • Reply 17 of 53
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post

     

    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.


     

    Fck yeah!!

     

    Heavy Metal & Samsung >>> pretentious horsesht

  • Reply 18 of 53
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post



    I actually started tearing up a bit watching this video.



    Hats off to the Apple team.

     

    Are you a gay faggot?!

     

    Tearing up over a bunch of pretentious horsesht....

  • Reply 19 of 53
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    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.

  • Reply 20 of 53
    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.
Sign In or Register to comment.