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Is Apple Finally Getting Back on Track?

Apple’s advertising has been in a pretty steady decline over the past few years. What was once the envy of the advertising industry now seems to be a series of missteps. The company that told people to ‘think different’ now can’t seem to take their own advice.

When you think of where Apple advertising has been, commercials like the breakthrough ’1984’ come to mind immediately. We were introduced to the iPod through the use of silhouetted dancers with loud colors and catchy music. Then, when PCs started to mount a comeback, Apple topped them with the always funny and never boastful ‘I’m a Mac’ commercials featuring Justin Long as a personified version of their product. Throughout this, the brand stayed true to their identity of creating ads that showcased their approachable confidence. If you were a brand advocate, you knew exactly what they were saying and who they were saying it to.

Since Steve Jobs’ death, though, it’s been a different story. First, we learned who Siri was through the use of cheesy product demos – a very un-Apple way to advertise. Then, we met the Apple Genius via a campaign featuring an unlikable actor representing the Genius and a series of customers portrayed as incompetent. This sparked a consumer backlash and forced Apple to pull the ads after a very short run. To add salt to the wounds, the competition, including Samsung and Amazon, stepped up their advertising game and knocked Apple down a few pegs through their own use of humor and playful mockery.

In its latest effort for the holiday season, Apple has the critics split. Some see the ad, focused around a withdrawn teenager with his head buried in his iPhone 5, as a return to the emotion that the brand has been missing. Others see it as a sad reflection of the society we live in, where it’s more important to capture the moment than live in it. Take a look:

Many say that the day Steve Jobs passed away (10/5/11), Apple’s heart went with it. Here’s to hoping their New Year’s resolution is to revive a brand that so many people love, regardless of who or what they put in a commercial.

~ Matt Mauriello, Account Director, The S3 Agency


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