Chapter 23 Apple Misunderstood Campaign Makes Technology and Family a Priority
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Apple is no newcomer to exemplary advertising, achieving their first Emmy award in 1998.
Their second award would come for the 2013 campaign Misunderstood.
Following firmly in the footsteps of the John Lewis campaigns, the ad tells as a heartfelt story before revealing the brand at the end.
The main character, a seemingly withdrawn teenager, spends time over Christmas creating a video montage for his family. This is used as a vehicle to walk the audience through a myriad of familiar Christmas scenes, including presents, Christmas trees, decorations, snowmen and snow angels.
If Pampers produced the least Christmas-y advert, then Apple created its antithesis.
True to form, subsequent innovations to the campaign have told a similarly sentimental story, revealing the brand at the conclusion, and in 2015 celebrity guests Andra Day and Stevie Wonder performed ‘Someday at Christmas’ within a similar family setting.
The campaign succeeds with emotional appeals — not only through its emotional storytelling and musical numbers, but goes further “beyond the product to tell stories of how technology affects our culture and daily lives.”
Thus, the main character in the 2013 advert leads the audience to believe he’s absorbed in his phone, only to reveal the character’s heart-warming gift at the end.
Despite its Emmy, the campaign has been met with considerable criticism. Many viewers have become tired of sentimental stories and quaint soundtracks. Others consider the piece to be ‘a sad commentary on our social, video, and image obsessed culture’, criticizing how the main character is always using his phone, missing the events around him.
Nevertheless, Apple has joined the ranks of companies using a replicable narrative-based format which engages consumers emotionally. As with the John Lewis adverts, the intention is to generate discussion of the brand as opposed to necessarily displaying the company’s products, and in this it clearly succeeds.
Holiday Marketing Takeaway
Give your emotional narrative a heartwarming twist to catch people off guard and make them smile.