AdWatch: Apple, Maya Angelou and The Human Family

AdWatch: Apple, Maya Angelou and The Human Family

What do you say when you are a global brand? What do you say when your products are practically ubiquitous … shorthand for an entire class of technology? What do you’ve when your champions and critics have said nearly everything that could be said?

You let a poet speak. You let a poet speak not about pixels and bandwidth, and certainly not about your product, but of the human condition. About how, as the poet says

We are more alike, my friends, then we are unalike.

In a subtly amazing echo of their legendary Think Different campaign, Apple does that in current spot The Human Family.

You may have seen this spot while watching the Olympics. That’s not an accident. The theme and the content of this spot are in perfect synch with the Olympic ideal. (Some might argue that it is also counterprogramming to some of the more divisive rhetoric we’re hearing on the campaign trail.)

In a year where we’re focused, for the first time, on the Refugee Olympic Team, there’s no better time to hear the inspiring words of Maya Angelou.

But, even if you can’t hear the elegiac music and Ms. Angelou’s first-person narrative, you still absorb the wonderful messages of the poem and this spot … I’ve seen the wonders of the world, not yet one common man … We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.

In a world where, we’re told, content is king, Apple has leveraged user-created content (“Shot on iPhone”, in case you forget) to weave a wonderful mosaic. Brilliantly edited, the images and videos offer a graceful underline to the words being read. It’s a spot that doesn’t immediately fatigue – and fatigue us – as so many of the other spots that litter the advertising highway this Olympic season. With so many of us uncharacteristically watching live TV, it’s nice to have a spot that doesn’t have us reflexively pushing Skip.

The only thing that nags, are some of the thematic similarities between this and the Android Same, But Different campaign.

Still, in this spot, Apple further builds its equity in Elegance and Grace. I’m not sure how many units that will ship. But I do know, for a brand that’s more about identity then nearly any other, it’s the right message at the right time.

Case Studies

Case Study: 35% Response Rate

Case Study: 35% Response Rate

How do you get a 35% response rate on direct mail? (How about 40%?) I was showing some of my past work to a prospective client the other day, and I happened to pull out a dimensional mailing we did years ago for Nordstrom … the one that got nearly 40% response when it was…+

Bringing Together 2 Iconic Brands

Bringing Together 2 Iconic Brands

When Capital One acquired ING Direct (INGD), the opportunity was great … and so was the obligation. ING Direct was not a typical business, nor was it a typical brand. The brand’s success was the result of intentionally differentiating itself as much as possible from the way other financial institutions presented themselves. And, as relatively…+

More from the Blog

Why having a personal brand is so important.

Why having a personal brand is so important.

Not too long ago, I was looking for something up in the attic, and I came across some old promos — marketing materials I created a few years ago when I was first looking to promote myself as a consultant. And here’s a key frame from that … Times have changed a lot since then…+

Is the 84 Lumber spot this generation’s Apple 1984?

Is the 84 Lumber spot this generation’s Apple 1984?

So many pixels have been killed over the 84 Lumber Super Bowl spot, I’m reluctant to add too many more. But I do think this ad is important, and worthy of note, because it does a lot of important things very well. It may also signal (or at least reflect) a shift in the way…+

What does “Independent George” have to do with brand voice?

What does “Independent George” have to do with brand voice?

Stick with me for just a minute. And let me tell you about how George Constanza puts his finger right on one of he biggest dilemmas that face brands and the copwriters who support them. First, let’s step into George’s world, just for a second. It’s one of his greatest rants … the one where…+