In last week’s blog post, Alex Siminoff shared his favorite Apple ads of all time. While I appreciated the list he put together and enjoyed reviewing his selections, it was plain to see that for marketers of an older generation, there were some omissions that needed to be accounted for. So I decided to do my own list and add a couple of not so great/stinkers to the list as well. Over the Thanksgiving holiday break, I took advantage of the fact that most Apple commercials are on YouTube and started reviewing some of their spots. Again, this list and the rankings are my opinion and are not based on any contribution to sales – just based on pure enjoyment and in the case of the #1 selection – history and its impact to the company (and dare I say, society). Here is my list of the five favorite Apple ads and three of my least favorite as well.
1. Apple Macintosh – 1984
I completely understand and know that 1984 makes everyone’s list of the best ads (not just for Apple) of all time. That is because this was the Apple commercial that started it all. The fact that there have been school papers, anniversary retrospectives, and critical analyses written about a commercial means that it has some weight and impact. It’s amazing that with all of the accolades that this commercial has received since its Super Bowl debut, it almost didn’t make it. Between issues during the filming and a lackluster review by the Apple board of directors, this iconic ad could have been non-existent. So while Alex may have omitted it – I have added it and have it ranked as the best.
2. Get a Mac – the entire campaign!
I love these ads. In fact, it may have been the reason I purchased my iMac in 2008. The campaign ran from 2006-2009 and featured well over 50 spots aired on TV and another 25 featured both internationally and on the internet. While I am not sure if it launched Justin Long’s acting career, this was the first time I remember seeing him. A little piece of trivia for those in NE Ohio, the music in all of the spots was composed by Akron’s own – Mark Mothersbaugh. I am not sure which one is my favorite, but I am partial at the ones that go after Microsoft directly. The ad agency TWBA/Media Arts Lab pulled no punches in these ads, and were created specifically to help consumers find reasons to switch to Macs.
This was the only spot that Alex included in his top five. I agree 100% and I still get a little misty every time I watch it. My favorite part is when the “grandma” character gets a little teary – that always triggers a lump in my throat, every time. Well done Apple in showing how their technology can help bring a family together at a time of the year that is made for family and togetherness.
4. Apple Music – Taylor vs. Treadmill
Whatever your thoughts on Taylor Swift are, you have to love celebrities that are not afraid to poke fun at themselves. This add is just that. While it does convey the attributes of Apple Music, it’s the ending that makes this spot memorable. And granted the Drake version does it too, I appreciate and applaud Taylor Swift for being open to doing it, especially if it makes her look like a klutz in the end. Plus, for all the Taylor Swift haters – I am sure they appreciate the ending too!
5. Dillan’s Voice
Like Misunderstood, this one also is great at pulling on the emotional heartstrings. I have to admit that I had not seen this ad prior to researching this blog post. While it is not a traditional TV commercial, the short film was produced for Apple to demonstrate how their technology can help individuals live life to its fullest, a theme that I appreciate in all of Apple’s advertising. In this case, it is the Apple iPad and software that allows Dillan, an autistic teenager, to communicate to the outside world. In fact, the tools Dillan use have even given him the ability to not only communicate to his family, friends, and in school, but he also has a blog that allows all of us to hear his “voice.” This was a great spot and one that I am glad I came across it.
This is one of Apple’s most recent spots. While I appreciate the music and the visuals of the commercial – I have a hard time with the whole premise. In fact, the first couple of times I saw it, I missed the fact that it was an Apple ad. However, with that being said, it kind of fits within the theme that I appreciate the most about Apple commercials – our technology allows you to live life to its fullest. And for some people the apps on the smartphones allow them to do this. I am just not one of those. The apps I use the most are also available via my desktop. It may also be that I remember life before smart devices and life wasn’t all that bad.
2. Apple iPhone 8 Plus – Portraits of Her
This ad drives me crazy – between the music and the visuals – nothing. No desire to purchase an iPhone 8 and even less of a reason to purchase the 8 Plus – even with the specific function of the camera app.
3. Middle Seat – (historically bad)
The Middle Seat ad is just bad. Everything about it screams – “we are trying to hard.” I get that the main character wants to create a video for his girlfriend, but where this fails in the emotional tug – Misunderstood totally gets it. It is the exact same premise – using the video production software that Apple has, allows us to connect with a loved one. However, the cheesy conversations with the people he is sitting next to and the whole middle seat thing to be able to spread out his stuff – not very good. And then, there is the music at the end. Really?!?!?! Come on Apple, you are better than this. And for those that are fans of the certain wildly popular family drama on NBC, the main character may be familiar to you.
We would love to know your thoughts on these ads and have you share your favorites. Feel free to comment or share via social media.
By: Jacob Farrar @jacobmfarrar