I don’t know about you, but I have a few mobile games that help me pass the in-betweens and keep me sane throughout the week. Every one of these games has some form of online advertising and lately, they’ve gotten better at bringing me the types of ads I want to see: ads that I actually don’t mind seeing over and over again. So who’s making these types of ads? Well, in this particular case, the company I’m referring to is Apple, which could clearly create a Master Class on this very topic. So what can we learn from the brand you either love (or love to hate) when it comes to reaching your audience in a world where repeat viewings are unavoidable? Read on and hopefully, I’ll answer that along the way.
First up is a spot for Apple’s AirPods Pro that I’ve probably seen twenty times at this point and I never get sick of it. It follows in the footsteps of their previous ads that take us on a fantastical journey through an urban landscape. This time our protagonist is someone you’ve probably never heard of: Japanese double-dutch champion Kengo Sugino.
Why it matters: Apple always sets a high bar for their product films, whether it’s jaw-dropping CG for their phones, clever visual techniques like the Spike Jonze/FKA Twigs for the Homepod—or just finding that fresh and interesting human nugget like what we all spend hours devouring in our social feeds every day.
In this instance, someone on their team found a gem to build a campaign around with double-dutch champion Kengo Sugino. Who even knew there was a world championship for what most think of as a simple kid’s game? The result is so good it’s almost impossible not to smile when you see Kengo jumping like he has springs in his feet. He is so compelling to watch because it seems so effortless; part dance, part acrobatics and full badass. One of the things that really struck me after seeing this so many times is that the short-form cuts (:06-:10) are equally effective. Kengo bounces into the frame and we just feel his complete mastery and joy for that one brief moment. It lands every single time.
The details: Directed by the extremely impressive Sam Brown, this is one more win in his catalog of great spots. Sam also directed a film I covered previously entitled “The Wheel” for Volkswagen, as well as the launch spot for iPods Pro. And if you haven’t seen his insane piece for Virgin Media, check this out: This is Virgin Fibre – YouTube.
Clearly the Apple marketing machine never sleeps. Just as the AirPods film was dropping, this tasty little 30-second spot landed for the new Apple Watch.
Why it matters: Centered around the new electrocardiogram feature, this spot takes a very niche and specific subject matter and brings it to life in a fresh, innovative way. The device is very simple: using the head turn as a clever mechanism to propel us into the multitude of scenarios that one may find themselves in where they could also want to get an instant ECG. Yup, the new Apple Watch can do it. Not sure if this was intentional, but my guess is that the head-turning device is mimicking the way an ECG measures the electrical signals in your heart. Personally, I’m fortunate to not need that feature at this point in my life, but that’s beside the point, I am completely drawn in by this beautiful and simple piece of filmmaking, acting, music composition and editorial that it makes me once again generate positive vibes for Apple. The actor is completely on point, almost right out of a Wes Anderson movie: stylish, worldly and completely captivating.
The details: Directed by Spanish/English filmmaker, Ian Pons Jewell, this is one of a three-part series that he put together for Apple. Ian has been doing amazing work for Xbox, Oculus, Squarespace and Apple among many others. Borrowing a line from his production company bio, “whether working in the realms of drama or comedy, his films carry a surreal originality that is compelling to watch.” Couldn’t have said it better.
To wrap it up, I thought I’d finish with Apple’s latest bombastic live-action/VFX dose of technology pumped right into our collective bloodstream. Thanks to my old friend, Matthew Encina (formerly ECD at Blind) for sending this one my way!
Why it matters: I LOVE this spot. It pulls out all the stops and combines almost every trick in the book. Beautiful CG of the internal components, stunning macro photography, clever VFX and in-camera transitions, spot-on lifestyle vignettes that humanize the product and bring it into our world, and finally Marvel-level sound design that propels it past 10 and all the way to 11! Oh yeah, and as a bonus…there’s even a little humor just to make sure they checked every box.
On top of that, they’ve centered the story around a “lift-off” thematic that makes you feel the power of the product and more importantly the power it’s going to give to YOU as part of the creative community to make the most epic things imaginable. And who wouldn’t want that?
The details: I haven’t been able to track down any of the production details yet on this one. What I will say here is that the importance of this spot and the potential of this product is that the iPad Pro is finally ready to be considered as a full-fledged laptop replacement. What’s clear in this video is that the users are running very high-end creative software like Davinci, Logic and Final Cut. With the power of the new M1 chip and that incredible display, I’d say Apple is making quite the case for the future of the iPad.