This is ‘Stickers’, the new TV ad for Apple’s MacBook Air. It’s interesting on several levels. Watch:
I watch and dissect all Apple ads, and this one jumped at me. Why?
- It breaks from their traditional style. Most Apple ads show what you can do with the product, not 30 seconds of the product itself from largely one angle.
- It shows Apple products in a modified state. This almost never happens. (Well, in ‘Powerful’ they showed the device in steadicam rigs and attached to instruments, but that’s not the same.) Here, modified means user-modified, which implies an affection for the product, a sense of personalization, a sense of use. One would only bother putting stickers on a product of which they were proud, or used every day to perform their daily work. You customize your car; you don’t customize your extra gas generator sitting in your garage.
- If you look at the MacBook Airs you see flashing through the ad, you’ll notice blemishes, scratches, maybe even minor dents – again, this implies use and a sense that the machine is an extension of someone, not just a product on a pedestal. Apple is in the business of creating experiences, not just devices. This is what makes Apple products appeal (or not) to certain people. (I’d even go out on a limb and say that the machines you see in ‘Stickers’ are actual, real-world user machines, but I’m just riffing here.)
- Showing stickers all over Apple’s vaunted industrial design is actually a bit self-deprecating: it shows Apple isn’t taking its naked design as the canonical style. There’s a bit of jauntiness here, a sense that Apple isn’t taking itself so seriously. This is a good thing.
- What’s the key value of a laptop computer? The screen. This ad shows not a single shot of the screen. Again, this isn’t about how the device gets used – everyone knows that by now.
- Finally, the iconic six-color Apple logo makes a brief, staccato appearance in the ad’s final frames. Great touch, and nice to see.
This entire ad is about self-expression, not a product. It’s almost as if the Beats marketing team created it, and I don’t think it’s any accident it’s airing alongside Apple’s back to school promo.
Have a good weekend, everyone.