When I broke into advertising, I was all about the high concept stuff that left an impact on people. Creating work like that was why I became a copywriter. This spot by Apple for the new iPad Air is one of the best advertisements I’ve ever seen. First of all, the metaphor of a pencil is brilliant. Not only does it represent simplicity, reinforcing the core concept of the Apple brand, but the device itself is used as an extension of our brains when held in our hands. Transcribing our ideas starts with the scratching of lead on paper. One of the challenges of creating effective advertising is selling the benefits of a product or service. Whether it’s a television spot or a print ad, brand managers have a tendency to ask for the world in the communications we create. “How else can we possibly sell the product if we don’t show them (the audience) why they need it?” What professional communicators understand, however, is that very few people are patient enough to sit or read through a laundry list of benefits. At some point the appeal becomes snake oil – a miracle elixir that can break a fever and remove blood stains. No, getting people to understand the benefits of a product or service in a respectful way via advertising isn’t easy. Unless you’re Apple, evidently. This iPad spot not only shows various ways that the product is useful, but also for whom. And until :53, we are still thinking about the utilitarian simplicity of a pencil. Then we finally see the product and all that stuff before the big reveal is locked into place in our minds.
Look, I like a good Super Bowl beer commercial that features girls in bikinis playing volleyball with penguins as much the next guy, but I love the ads that actually work.
Then of course there’s this new one by Apple, which is just ridiculous.