Apple Crushed It (Literally): Why Their iPad Pro Ad Backfired

Apple’s latest iPad Pro ad sparked outrage with its imagery of crushed creative tools. Here’s a breakdown of the ad, the online reaction, and what Apple can learn from this misstep.

Apple prides itself on being a champion for creative expression. From design software to powerful devices, their products are synonymous with innovation and artistic exploration. So, it came as a surprise to many when their recent ad for the new iPad Pro left viewers feeling crushed (pun intended).

The ad, titled “Crush,” features a montage of various creative tools being fed into a giant industrial press. Cameras, guitars, paintbrushes – each one is met with a satisfyingly brutal crunch. The commercial ends with a sleek new iPad Pro emerging from the press, suggesting that this tablet is the ultimate creative powerhouse, replacing the need for all those other tools.

Needless to say, the internet wasn’t having it. Critics slammed the ad for being insensitive and dismissive of traditional creative mediums. Some YouTubers pointed out that the iPad, despite its capabilities, is a tool that complements, not replaces, these existing forms of creative expression. Actor Hugh Grant even chimed in on social media, calling the ad “the destruction of the human experience courtesy of Silicon Valley.” Ouch.

Apple quickly took notice of the backlash. In a statement to Ad Age, they admitted to “missing the mark” and apologized for the negative reception. They pulled the ad from television and acknowledged their goal of celebrating creativity, not diminishing it.

What went wrong?

There are a few reasons why Apple’s ad fell flat:

  • Misunderstood message: The crushing imagery overshadowed the intended message of the iPad Pro’s versatility.
  • Disrespectful tone: Crushing beloved creative tools felt dismissive of the artistic process.
  • Inconsistent with brand identity: Apple has always positioned itself as a champion for the artist. This ad contradicted that image.

Lessons Learned

This situation serves as a cautionary tale for even the biggest tech giants. Here are some takeaways:

  • Stay true to your brand identity. Apple’s ad strayed from their usual message of empowerment and creativity.
  • Consider audience perception. How will your message be interpreted?
  • Focus on the benefits, not the replacements. Highlight how your product enhances existing workflows.

Apple’s apology is a good first step. However, the real test will be whether their future marketing materials can effectively communicate the power of the iPad Pro while still celebrating the beauty and importance of traditional creative tools.

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