Apple's 2014 holiday ad 'The Song' showcases the human side of its ecosystem

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2014
Once again this year, Apple is celebrating the holiday season with a 90-second, unconventional television spot showcasing how its products can be used to create thoughtful gifts that can strengthen relationships with others.




The new ad, called "The Song," shows a younger woman using her Apple devices to record a duet with an old recording her grandmother made for her grandfather. The ad shows her using a MacBook, and iPhone and an iPad over some time to perfect the holiday gift.

The grandmother listens to her present Christmas morning saved on an iPad mini 3. As she is brought to tears by the composition, the granddaughter watches with a smile from a distance.

"With a Mac, iPhone or iPad you have the power to create thoughtful, emotional gifts and memories that transcend time," the ad's description reads. "It could be a movie, a homemade card or a song that brings two generations closer together."



Apple's short film for the 2014 holiday is the second straight year that the company has made a longer advertisement telling a singular story for the Christmas season. Last year's creation, "Misunderstood," featured a boy staring at his iPhone during a family gathering, only to eventually reveal he had been editing together a movie to show to everyone.

The 2013 ad won a Creative Arts Emmy for "Outstanding Commercial." Over the years, Apple's ads have earned a reputation for being at times emotional, funny, eye catching, and most of all iconic, ranging from the heralded "1984" Super Bowl spot to the "Get a Mac" campaign that featured physical embodiments of a Mac and a Windows PC.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66

    Bah humbug.

     

    Although you refer to it as a Christmas ad in the article, Apple simply says 'Happy Holidays' at the end of the ad; there is no mention of Christmas. This is the face of the new Tim Cook-led, politically correct, bland 'Think Nothing' Apple.

     

    The ad itself? Boring and obscure. Apple are obviously trying to tailor their ads to black and white stereotypical groups; hence the recent raucous ad geared towards the thug audience, and this one geared to the old biddies. Once upon a time, Apple made ads that had universal appeal, like the great iPod ones.

     

    What differentiates Apple from anyone else in this ad? There is nothing to suggest that you couldn't achieve anything the woman in the ad does with a PC or Android device.

     

    The one positive is that the music reminds me slightly of the first MacBook Air envelope ad 'You're a new soul'.

     

    I enjoyed 'Misunderstood' last year; it made you think, and had more tension. This one, however, fails to achieve an impact.

     

    MEMO TO APPLE: BIN YOUR IN-HOUSE AD TEAM.

     

    Grumble over.

  • Reply 2 of 66
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

     

    Bah humbug.

     

    Although you refer to it as a Christmas ad in the article, Apple simply says 'Happy Holidays' at the end of the ad; there is no mention of Christmas. This is the face of the new Tim Cook-led, politically correct, bland 'Think Nothing' Apple.

     

    The ad itself? Boring and obscure. Apple are obviously trying to tailor their ads to black and white stereotypical groups; hence the recent raucous ad geared towards the thug audience, and this one geared to the old biddies. Once upon a time, Apple made ads that had universal appeal, like the great iPod ones.

     

    What differentiates Apple from anyone else in this ad? There is nothing to suggest that you couldn't achieve anything the woman in the ad does with a PC or Android device.

     

    The one positive is that the music reminds me slightly of the first MacBook Air envelope ad 'You're a new soul'.

     

    I enjoyed 'Misunderstood' last year; it made you think, and had more tension. This fails to achieve an impact.

     

    MEMO TO APPLE: BIN YOUR IN-HOUSE AD TEAM.

     

    Grumble over.




    I could not disagree more. 

     

    The usage of Apple products were very subtle and the ad itself was very emotional and human. Pulling strings is the best way to peoples hearts and well, wallets. I think it was a beautiful ad.

  • Reply 3 of 66
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,348member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

     

    What differentiates Apple from anyone else in this ad? There is nothing to suggest that you couldn't achieve anything the woman in the ad does with a PC or Android device.


    Good luck trying to do anything music-related on an Android device.  Android doesn't have key features like MIDI or real-time audio processing.  The most simultaneous tracks top-end Android can handle are 8, the same as the original iPad.  The iPad Air 2 can handle 24 tracks.  That's 24 simultaneous, processed audio tracks in real-time...

  • Reply 4 of 66
    This is gorgeous.

    This was really nice. There's not much more to say. It's a lovely thoughtful ad that doesn't shove the product in your face.
  • Reply 5 of 66
    jkichline wrote: »
     
    What differentiates Apple from anyone else in this ad? There is nothing to suggest that you couldn't achieve anything the woman in the ad does with a PC or Android device.
    Good luck trying to do anything music-related on an Android device.  Android doesn't have key features like MIDI or real-time audio processing.  The most simultaneous tracks top-end Android can handle are 8, the same as the original iPad.  The iPad Air 2 can handle 24 tracks.  That's 24 simultaneous, processed audio tracks in real-time...

    Sure, but this ad doesn't tell us that.
  • Reply 6 of 66
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,651member
    Thank Jebus. What a boring ad it would be if it did.
  • Reply 7 of 66
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    Wasn't that record kind of like a love letter that the grandma made for her husband/lover? In that case how would you feel if someone read one of your old love letters, and then handed you a copy with their own notes scrawled in the margins?

  • Reply 8 of 66

    What a beautiful ad. I'll admit I choked up -- that's an unfailing test.

  • Reply 9 of 66
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,348member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post





    Sure, but this ad doesn't tell us that.



    You're not a marketing major are you? You don't need to list specs and all something can do to be effective.  There's plenty of car commercials on TV showing someone driving a car, or performing a mundane task like "driving" or "picking up groceries" in a way that appeals to the viewer through a story or comedy.  The brand is then communicated (logo, slogan, etc) to create a marker in the viewer's mind.  When the user thinks "buy car", that brand should be favorable in one's mind for decision making.



    Marketing is NOT blasting you with feature after feature, "it slices it dices", unless you really like used car salesmen or late night television commercials.  Instead, it needs to form an emotional connection between you and the product.  Think of the infamous Budweiser commercial with the Clydesdales traveling across the country and then bowing at the twin towers in respect.  That commercial never even mentioned or visualized "beer", and it didn't have to.  Yet it's engrained in my memory and if I had to choose between brands of cheap beers, I'd choose Budweiser because it appeals to my patriotism and shared experience of 9/11.

     

    For many musicians, MacBooks and iPads ARE the tools of their trade and many musicians look forward to owning a MacBook and putting Logic on it to record and write music.

     

    This ad succeeds in a number of fronts.  First, it reaches both young and old with the same message.  It tells a story of a grandmother who lost her husband in war and of a granddaughter who brought them back together for a moment through her simple talent (passed from generation to generation) and with technology. It reveals both the MacBook as being approachable to youth, as well as the iPad being approachable by seniors.  It shows that by bridging that gap, love can be given for Christmas.  It's not about the things (although the things may help produce the gift), it's about the love surrounding the gift that counts.  It's the time-tested things that last.

     

    But then again, I was a partner in a digital ad agency and run an iOS app company in the music industry, so I may be reading into it a bit.

  • Reply 10 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

     

    Bah humbug.

     

    Although you refer to it as a Christmas ad in the article, Apple simply says 'Happy Holidays' at the end of the ad; there is no mention of Christmas. This is the face of the new Tim Cook-led, politically correct, bland 'Think Nothing' Apple.

     

    The ad itself? Boring and obscure. Apple are obviously trying to tailor their ads to black and white stereotypical groups; hence the recent raucous ad geared towards the thug audience, and this one geared to the old biddies. Once upon a time, Apple made ads that had universal appeal, like the great iPod ones.

     

    What differentiates Apple from anyone else in this ad? There is nothing to suggest that you couldn't achieve anything the woman in the ad does with a PC or Android device.

     

    The one positive is that the music reminds me slightly of the first MacBook Air envelope ad 'You're a new soul'.

     

    I enjoyed 'Misunderstood' last year; it made you think, and had more tension. This one, however, fails to achieve an impact.

     

    MEMO TO APPLE: BIN YOUR IN-HOUSE AD TEAM.

     

    Grumble over.




    You're right. Perhaps Apple should focus on subtly weaving in product benefits as you've subtly woven racism into your comment. I see what you did there. Happy Holidays, sir.

  • Reply 11 of 66
    F**king Apple and their commercial.... I got something in may eyes.
  • Reply 12 of 66
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,510member
    Fantastic. Best ad ever. Totally different from all those noisy ads.
  • Reply 13 of 66

    I like it. Feels authentic — and that's not easy to achieve in these cynical times...

     

    A.

  • Reply 14 of 66
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Bah humbug.

    Although you refer to it as a Christmas ad in the article, Apple simply says 'Happy Holidays' at the end of the ad; there is no mention of Christmas. This is the face of the new Tim Cook-led, politically correct, bland 'Think Nothing' Apple.

    The ad itself? Boring and obscure. Apple are obviously trying to tailor their ads to black and white stereotypical groups; hence the recent raucous ad geared towards the thug audience, and this one geared to the old biddies. Once upon a time, Apple made ads that had universal appeal, like the great iPod ones.

    What differentiates Apple from anyone else in this ad? There is nothing to suggest that you couldn't achieve anything the woman in the ad does with a PC or Android device.

    The one positive is that the music reminds me slightly of the first MacBook Air envelope ad 'You're a new soul'.

    I enjoyed 'Misunderstood' last year; it made you think, and had more tension. This one, however, fails to achieve an impact.

    MEMO TO APPLE: BIN YOUR IN-HOUSE AD TEAM.

    Grumble over.

    Really, so that's why last years ad featured the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"? That was Tim Cook's Apple too.
  • Reply 15 of 66
    Bah humbug.

    Although you refer to it as a Christmas ad in the article, Apple simply says 'Happy Holidays' at the end of the ad; there is no mention of Christmas. This is the face of the new Tim Cook-led, politically correct, bland 'Think Nothing' Apple.

    The ad itself? Boring and obscure. Apple are obviously trying to tailor their ads to black and white stereotypical groups; hence the recent raucous ad geared towards the thug audience, and this one geared to the old biddies. Once upon a time, Apple made ads that had universal appeal, like the great iPod ones.

    What differentiates Apple from anyone else in this ad? There is nothing to suggest that you couldn't achieve anything the woman in the ad does with a PC or Android device.

    The one positive is that the music reminds me slightly of the first MacBook Air envelope ad 'You're a new soul'.

    I enjoyed 'Misunderstood' last year; it made you think, and had more tension. This one, however, fails to achieve an impact.

    MEMO TO APPLE: BIN YOUR IN-HOUSE AD TEAM.

    Grumble over.

    And the girl isn't even white¡ She's some mixed race¡ Ugh!¡ Cook is the devil¡


    The only issue people should take with the ad is the fact that Gibraltar and the Rockies are not composed mostly of clay.
  • Reply 16 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

     

    Bah humbug.

     

    Although you refer to it as a Christmas ad in the article, Apple simply says 'Happy Holidays' at the end of the ad; there is no mention of Christmas. This is the face of the new Tim Cook-led, politically correct, bland 'Think Nothing' Apple.

     


     

    There are christmas decorations all over an ad that clearly ends in a Christmas gift.  Of course it's a Christmas ad.

  • Reply 17 of 66
    alandail wrote: »
    There are christmas decorations all over an ad that clearly ends in a Christmas gift.  Of course it's a Christmas ad.

    By saying Happy Holidays means you're attacking Christmas and you're not a true Christian. In fact, you're probably a terrorist if you say Happy Holidays¡
  • Reply 18 of 66
    In case anyone isn't familiar with the song, it was written by George and Ira Gershwin. The version I'm most familiar with is by Ella Fitzgerald, but I more people may know it as Frank Sinatra song.

    [LIST][*] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Is_Here_to_Stay
    [/LIST]
  • Reply 19 of 66
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,498member
    Ironic ad. I just got digital files back from a vendor that scanned my father-in-law's old 8mm film and found what was on an unlabeled reel. My wife's aunt when she was 4 years old. My wife had never seen this reel and she was elated. This reel was from the 40's in Oakland. I made a DVD and sent it to her aunt for Christmas. It will probably make her and her sister, my mother-in-law cry.

    Some people on this list are Scrooges and need a life.
  • Reply 20 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by shapeshifta View Post

     



    You're right. Perhaps Apple should focus on subtly weaving in product benefits as you've subtly woven racism into your comment. I see what you did there. Happy Holidays, sir.




    You thought it was subtly woven?  You have given him waaaaaaay too much credit.

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