Just ahead of Thanksgiving in the United States, Apple posted their annual holiday ad on YouTube earlier today. The company's holiday commercials have become a tradition in recent years, and they tend to carry a message that goes beyond advertising the specific features of Apple products.
This year's ad, titled Sway, is all about AirPods and Apple Music. The video is set on Tuesday, December 19, and follows a woman who starts dancing and walking down a street as she listen to Sam Smith's Palace on her AirPods. The performance continues after she bumps into a man walking by and the two start dancing together in the snow while sharing AirPods. The ad cuts back to reality and the tagline "move someone this holiday" appears. As with holiday ads in previous years, Apple picked a beautiful song to accompany the video; the incredible choreography nicely complements the idea of sharing a moment with someone through music.
Apple posted two videos highlighting the Memories feature of its iOS Photos app. One, called ‘The Archives,’ is part of Apple’s ‘practically magic’ series of videos and features an elderly man creating a film called ‘Together.’ When the man pulls a photograph out of a cabinet with dozens of drawers, it comes alive with a short snippet of video like a Live Photo.
After gathering a cart-load of photos and film, the man begins the laborious process of splicing them together into a film. The heartwarming spot captures the time, care, and attention needed to painstakingly create a movie from analog photos and videos, making the unstated point of how easy it is to do the same thing in Photos.
The second spot is in stark contrast to the first. It demonstrates the three steps to using Photos’ Memories feature:
Open the Photos app
Go to the Memories Tab
Choose a Memory
The two spots, which both feature Memories called 'Together,' are a clever one-two punch intended to convey how simple Photos has made it to create photo and video montages that once would have taken hours of work.
Update: Apple has posted an additional video featuring the AirPods called 'Stroll,' which is a longer version of the Siri video described below. You can watch the video at the end of this article.
Apple posted three 15-second advertisements featuring AirPods. Each video is black and white, except for the screens of the iPhones that make an appearance in two of the clips. All three also features the single ’Down’ by Marian Hill.
Two of the videos start with a man walking down the street of a city. In the first spot, the lead character taps his AirPods twice to activate Siri and says ‘Play Marian Hill,’ which starts the music. The second spot opens with another person flipping open his AirPods case to pair his AirPods, then immediately cuts to him dancing down the street and horizontally along the side of a car. Both ads close with the taglines ‘AirPods on iPhone 7’ and ‘practically magic.’
The third ad substitutes musical notes on a staff with AirPods scrolling by as ‘Down’ plays. The clip concludes with AirPods emerging from their case and the pairing interface opening on an iPhone 7.
These are the first advertisements to focus on AirPods. The first two ads do a great job of quickly showing off a feature then focusing on the freedom of movement afforded by AirPods. The final spot that substitutes musical notes with AirPods is more focused on showing off the product, delightfully linking the AirPods with the music they play.
Apple holiday ads have become a tradition and some of the best spots each year. Who can forget the Emmy-award-winning ‘Misunderstood’ from 2013, featuring what appeared to be a sulking teenager who was really making a movie about his family’s Christmas gathering? This year, Apple has released ‘Frankie’s Holiday’ featuring Brad Garrett, one of the stars on the hit TV show 'Everybody Loves Raymond.'
Garrett who is over 6’8” plays Frankenstein, not a character that jumps to mind when you think about Christmas. The spot opens with Frankenstein recording a music box playing a holiday tune using Apple’s Voice Memos app. Frankenstein leaves his mountain home for the town in the valley below. As he leaves, he picks up a package that he takes with him.
A large group is gathered in the town square around a Christmas tree. They are startled to see Frankenstein who walks to the base of the tree, opens up the package he brought along with him, and removes Christmas lights that he screws into his neck. As the bulbs light up, Frankenstein plays the music he recorded on his iPhone, ‘There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays, and begins to sing. One of the bulbs goes out and it seems like Frankenstein is going to give up on his performance when a little girl helps him by fixing the misbehaving light and joining Frankenstein and the rest of the crowd in singing the song.
Frankie’s Holiday starts out unsettling and confusing because of the unusual choice of a lead character, but when the scene switches to the town square the ad quickly becomes funny, concluding with a heart-warming message of acceptance and inclusion and the message “Open your hearts to everyone.’
Apple posted a video on YouTube promoting the new Touch Bar MacBook Pros. The video cuts frenetically between a long line of Edison bulbs exploding down a darkened street and into the countryside, and scenes of human inventions from the discovery of fire to a robot walking down a street. The spot concludes with ‘Ideas push the world forward,’ echoing the line ‘They push the human race forward’ from Apple’s famous 1997 ‘Crazy Ones’ ad.
The ad then cuts to the line ‘Introducing a tool for all the ideas to come.’ A MacBook Pro comes into view with an Edison bulb on the screen. A hand scrubs back and forth across a slider on the Touch Bar making the video of the exploding bulb fast forward and rewind. The video does a nice job demonstrating the marquee feature of the new MacBook Pros, but an even better job, through its use of pacing, music, and editing, of giving a sense of the speed at which technology advances in what feels like an oblique response to critics of the changes made to Apple’s laptop line.
Apple introduced a quirky iPhone 7 ad on YouTube today called Dive. The ad features an older gentleman lounging by a swimming pool at what looks like a resort. As La Virgen De La Macarena begins to play, he turns up the volume, props his iPhone 7 up in a puddle of water on a table, and heads to the diving platforms. He hands his sunglasses to a girl as he climbs to the highest platform, pauses to glance down at a young woman sunbathing by the pool, and executes a perfect dive that splashes his iPhone. The spot ends with the tag line ‘stereo speakers on iPhone 7’ followed by, ‘practically magic.’ The clothing and slightly washed out colors of the video, which highlights the iPhone 7’s stereo speakers and water resistance, give it a vaguely old-fashioned, eccentric feel.
Apple released another advertisement in its 'practically magic' series, focusing on the new effects that can be used with Messages. 'Balloons' begins with a single red balloon floating out the window of a house. The balloon travels across landscapes, through forests, swamps, and across a large body of water. Eventually, it's joined by a second balloon under a rusted structure.
When the camera pulls back, it becomes apparent that the balloons are in Chicago. As the camera follows the balloons, they pass by several Chicago landmarks, including an 'L' train, the Chicago Board of Trade, and finally, the Chicago River near the Wrigley Building.
The scene cuts to an office where a woman is working. Balloons begin to blow into an open window as she receives an iMessage wishing her a happy birthday, which is sent with Messages' new balloons effect, echoing the scene surrounding her. The spot ends with the camera pulling back to a wide angle view of millions of balloons rising among Chicago's skyscrapers, including the Willis (née Sears) Tower with the tag line 'expressive messages on iPhone 7.'
Previous spots have focused on iPhone 7 hardware features like its water resistance and camera. This is the first ad since iOS 10 was released that focuses solely on a new feature of iOS.
The tongue-in-cheek advert sees a serious Corden attempt to pitch ideas for an Apple Music advert to Apple executives Jimmy Iovine, Bozoma Saint John, and Eddy Cue. Corden's ideas range from the bizarre, with Corden impersonating famous musicians, to the melodramatic, swimming through 40 million Apples. The trio of Apple executives rebuff Corden's extravagant ideas, simply pointing out that Apple Music is available offline, that there are over 40 million songs, and playlists are handpicked for users.