May 27, 2024

1984 called and would like to have a word — A crushing backlash to Apples new iPad ad Hydraulic press destroying “symbols of creativity” has folks hopping mad.

Daniel Thomas, Financial Times – May 9, 2024 1:15 pm UTC Enlarge / A screenshot of the Apple iPad ad.Apple via YouTube reader comments 95

An advert by Apple for its new iPad tablet showing musical instruments, artistic tools, and games being crushed by a giant hydraulic press has been attacked for cultural insensitivity in an online backlash.

The one-minute video was launched by Apple chief executive Tim Cook to support its new range of iPads, the first time that the US tech giant has overhauled the range for two years as it seeks to reverse faltering sales.

The campaignsoundtracked by Sonny and Chers 1971 hit All I Ever Need Is Youis designed to show how much Apple has been able to squeeze into the thinner tablet. The ad was produced in-house by Apples creative team, according to trade press reports.

The campaign has been hit by a wave of outrage, with responses on social media reacting to Cooks X post accusing Apple of crushing beautiful creative tools and the symbols of human creativity and cultural achievements.

Advertising industry executives argued the ad represented a mis-step for the Silicon Valley giant, which under late co-founder Steve Jobs was lauded for its ability to capture consumer attention through past campaigns. Advertisement

Christopher Slevin, creative director for marketing agency Inkling Culture, compared the iPad ad unfavorably to a famous Apple campaign directed by Ridley Scott called 1984 for the original Macintosh computer, which positioned Apple as liberating a dystopian, monochrome world.

Apples new iPad spot is essentially them turning into the thing they said they were out to destroy in the 1984 ad, said Slevin.

Actor Hugh Grant accused Apple of the destruction of the human experience courtesy of Silicon Valley on X.

However, Richard Exon, founder of marketing agency Joint, said: A more important question is: does the ad do its job? Its memorable, distinctive, and I now know the new iPad has even more in it yet is thinner than ever.

Consumer insights platform Zappi conducted consumer research on the ad that suggested that the idea of the hydraulic press crushing art was divisive.

It said that the ad underperformed benchmarks in typically sought-after emotions such as happiness and laughter and overperformed in traditionally negative emotions like shock and confusion, with older people more likely to have a negative response than younger consumers.

Nataly Kelly, chief marketing officer at Zappi, said: Is the Apple iPad ad a work of genius or the sign of the dystopian times? It really depends on how old you are. The shock value is the power of this advert, which is controversial by design, so the fact that people are talking about it at all is a win.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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