Thursday, June 17

Apple FaceTime

I have certainly gone on record that I have a real love for the Apple brand. I wrote about it in my book, and I recently had a feature article in BrandWeek declaring my affection.

So I will leave it to my colleague from the agency, Nick Taylor, to highlight yet another incredible move from the brand we both adore.

What's your experience, Nick? Jim.

A new commercial for Apple’s upcoming iPhone 4, entitled ‘FaceTime,’ showcases the phone’s signature new feature: dual front and back cameras that enable video-calling. With Apple’s preexisting reputation for dramatically integrating itself into the lives of its customers, this ad shows their initiative to take that image even further.

The commercial features a series of very intimate vignettes of people video-chatting on the iPhone 4 with friends and family. The first few are classic; a father on a business trip watching his children play, grandparents gleefully smiling at their phone as their granddaughter dons her graduation cap and gown, and a girl trying on outfits while her friend commentates. Then, the ad takes a tear-jerking turn; we watch as a stationed soldier gazes into his iPhone and watches his wife’s ultrasound. Next, a deaf couple speaks to each other in sign language through a video-call.

The ad is brilliant from a marketing perspective because it’s designed to hit the viewer from two distinctly different emotional angles, and it seems to do so undetected. The first 3 vignettes are crafted so just about anyone can relate to at least one of them. With this relatability factor, anyone who travels, has a long distance friend, or remote family members can instantly see how their relationships and lives can benefit from this phone. The last two vignettes depict more unique circumstances: the soldier abroad, which is a definite soft-spot for most Americans, and the deaf couple, who the ad implies are now finally able to legitimately speak to each other through a phone. Even though not as many people can relate to these last two scenarios, they are so compelling that the viewer instantly empathizes with the characters and then watches as the iPhone 4 dramatically enhances their lives.

In any other case, I would find the commercial use of this kind of subject matter to be…well, exploitative. But this is Apple; the poignant moments are shot with such sincerity and grace that you don’t even notice the brand’s emotional craftiness, at least I didn’t (at first). This makes me wonder if Apple’s signature commercial combination of elegant minimalism, soothing yet hip music, and compelling characters has a subliminal effect on viewers. Regardless, with this last commercial they go right for your heart, and they do it beautifully.

See for yourself, here.

- Nick Taylor, Social Media Specialist at Lippe Taylor Brand Communications

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