Apple is out with a new ad that is sure to tug at the strings of your heart this holiday season. The advertisement starts out in typical holiday fashion with a young boy spending the best time of year with his family. They engage in a number of traditional activities such as sledding, snowball fighting, cooking, and making cookies. However, they boy doesn’t seem to be interested in what his family is doing together as a group. Instead, he has his phone out the whole time, appearing to be more willing to pay attention to the electronic device than to his human relatives.
The reason why the scene is so gripping is that it’s one that we’re all to familiar with. All of us have been out for lunch or talking with someone only to get the cold shoulder when they spend the whole time on their phone. It’s kind of a depressing feeling; it’s one thing to get ignored for the sake of another person, but for the sake of a piece of plastic with a few flashy lights?
However, the boy isn’t being just another brat, he’s “Misunderstood,” as the title of the ad informs us. It turns out that he wasn’t playing Candy Crush Saga or texting his friends the whole time, but rather that he was shooting a video. By some miracle, the boy is a master of film editing, and he is able to compile a perfect holiday video for the family as his gift to everyone on Christmas morning. Everyone ends happy, and even the boy’s iPhone comes across as a holiday hero.
From Apple’s point of view, the commercial has been a success. While it’s a little over the top emotionally, it certainly delivers a powerful message, and simply from the buzz that the ad has generated, it’s already being called one of the top marketing stories of the year. Part of the job of a commercial is to generate discussion about the company’s name (hopefully positive discussion) and, in that respect, Apple’s holiday endeavor is already a wild triumph.
There have been some who have pointed out technical flaws in the advertisement, such as the angle at which the boy holds the phone relative to the angles shown in the final cut of his home video. Though such criticisms are probably valid from a purely technological point of view, they’re not the type of thing that most viewers are going to get upset about, or even to notice, for that matter.
Perhaps the true poignancy of Apple’s ad reveals something about the nature of technology and the opinions toward mobile devices of many of the older generations, simply magnified through the lens of the holiday season. As young people become increasing attaching to their cell phones, it is dangerous to think that a mobile electronic device is something that many feel as if they could not live without. In this way, maybe it is the attitudes of adults, not those of children, that Apple has “Misunderstood.”
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