There are a thousand ways Apple could have gone in creating a new iPad campaign.
Humor? Nope. Intelligent wit? Uh-uh. Technology superiority? No thanks. Philosophy? Bingo!
With the 90-second Verses commercial above (now officially a campaign with two new 30-second cut-downs, Light Verse and Sound Verse), Apple is taking the high road. We get the 1989 Robin Williams quoting Walt Whitman from Dead Poets Society.
Though the spot seemed unexpected for many, Apple has been making noises in this direction for some time now.
Just before Verses, Apple gave us Life on iPad — which is very much like Verses visually, but minus the voiceover.
In Our Signature, Apple spoke philosophically about its core values. Visually, it too was a collection of human moments made possible by Apple technology.
So‚ what do we think of this new approach? Will it make some Android users question their choice? Will it lure the undecided to Apple’s light? Will its creativity make competitors’ ads look shallow in comparison?
Personally, I love the sentiment of Verses. It feels like something only Apple would do. It’s nicely produced (though I do wish Robin’s voice had more bottom to it). It’s well on its way to becoming a “moment” in Apple advertising history.
That said, I don’t expect it to do much persuading.
Verses works well as an anthem for Apple customers, giving them more reason to bond with their favorite company. It makes Apple people proud, and rightfully so. And that’s reason enough to put it on the air.
And of course it will also appeal to a good number of non-Apple customers, generating good PR in the process.
But — while this spot can be seen as uplifting and inspirational, it can also be seen as incredibly pretentious. One must admit, it’s a bit of intellectual overkill for those who just want to do their email, surf and shop — which probably covers most of the tablet-buying public.
This is where it is important to remember: Apple has never, and never will, try to please everyone. That’s a PC and Android behavior. Apple speaks and sells to people with a more discerning set of values.
These people are smaller in number, but they have money — and they’re willing to spend more if they believe they’re getting more. Thus, Apple can outshine its competitors in the profit department even though it sells fewer devices.
Tim Cook knows, as Steve Jobs knew, that Apple must constantly nurture its customer relationships, which explains why commercials like these get produced.
What I have always admired about Apple advertising is that it is a perfect reflection of the company’s products.
So I’m rooting for Apple to consider Verses a job well done, and then get back to ads that amaze and delight — which is what iPad does best.