Before we dig into the linked post, it might help to know a bit about Ken Segall. From his bio:
Working with Steve Jobs as his ad agency’s creative director for twelve years spanning NeXT and Apple, he led the team behind Apple’s legendary Think different campaign, and set Apple down the i-way by naming the iMac.
That said, here’s Ken Segall, from the linked post:
The Apple story of the week is the new HomePod ad. Four minutes in length, I’m not sure you can call it an ad, but it’s out there and getting mostly positive reactions. Directed by Spike Jonze, psychedelic expanding sets, cool music, emotional dance … what’s not to like?
It’s not that I don’t like it. I think it’s beautifully produced, like all Apple ads. But it does make me feel like I’ve been here before. Or, more accurately, that I’ve been here many times before. Like I’m stuck in an infinite loop of Apple dancing ads.
Over the years, Apple has given us a virtual stream of ads in which music inspires someone to dance. The scenery changes, laws of physics are increasingly challenged, but the basic concept remains the same.
At least that’s been my overall impression. So the new HomePod ad moved me to action. After I finished dancing, I nosed around to see if my memory matched the reality.
At the very least, this is a fascinating walk through the history of Apple’s music advertising. Of course Apple’s ads will have a lot of dance in them. Advertising is a visual medium and if you are pitching music (and lots of Apple’s products involve music in some fashion), dance is a terrific visual storyteller.
So what’s the problem here?
In my opinion, a company like Apple can take two approaches to advertising. It can start thinking about what works for the mainstream audience—like dancing and celebrities (who are also frequently summoned by Apple these days)—or it can use its mass-popularity to take the same risks today as it did when it was the underdog.
The latter is the Apple that captured so many hearts.
The iPod Silhouette campaign changed Apple advertising in a huge way. It was virtually the first Apple campaign that didn’t feature a lot of white space, a gorgeous product shot and clever words. Yes, it was a lot of dance, but it was a totally fresh take on dance.
Fair enough. This is more of a quest for a fresh take, something as groundbreaking and different as the Silhouette campaign.
No matter how you feel about this, scroll through Ken’s post, take a look back at some of Apple’s past ads. Some great stuff there.