Apple's 'Verses' ad for the iPad Air has struck a chord with...seemingly everyone. Even Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, took the time to post on Google+ about the ad, where he "painfully admitted" that it's his favorite ad of the year.
The commercial features epic imagery of people and iPads with a monologue from Robin Williams from Dead Poets Society, a great movie from 1989. If you haven't seen it, it looks something like this:
Apple has been on an advertising roll for a while, now, and the last two ads in particular have been met with praise by most folks, though there were some who seemed to (ironically) misunderstand the Christmas ad called "Misunderstood."
"Verses," on the other hand has been universally acclaimed, but Mr. Gundotra's post is particularly eloquent. That post in full:
I shed a few tears tonight. My wife and I spent a Friday night with our 14 year old son. He agreed to watch one of my favorite movies of all time; "Dead Poets Society".
I had not watched the movie in many years... But the themes instantly resonated with me:
1) life is short
2) do things that matter because you will soon be fertilizer
3) conformity isn't the path to truth or happiness
4) pursue love at all costs
5) poetry matters. Words matter.
Anyway, I have to (painfully) admit that Apple's latest ads touch on these themes (and directly quote from the movie) and hence have become my favorite ad of the year.
One has to admire that Mr. Gundotra is willing to heap such praise on Apple in the midst of the bitter rivalry and even more bitter patent battle between that company and his own. It speaks well of his character that he would be so honest about something that would have been far easier to keep to himself.
It also got me wondering whether we would ever hear the same kind of compliments for Google come from an Apple exec. Of course, Google isn't a company that plays on emotions, at least not like Apple, and the reality is that Google isn't likely to produce something beautiful enough to have this kind of impact on someone like Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, or Jony Ive.
That's not a dig, either. The things Google does well aren't great in the same way that Apple's best things are great. The two companies think differently, and that's OK.