There is more to Apple's new TV ad, "What will your verse be?" than meets the eye. It contains elements that showcase truths about both Apple and its customers that can't be easily dismissed.
Apple's new TV ad that aired over the weekend, "What will your verse be?," tells a fundamental story that will, at first, likely be misunderstood by many.
Image credit: Apple
But first, let's take a look at the ad itself. It opens with a very neutral feel. While an iPad on a tripod is seen at 0:08, we don't really identify an Apple product until 0:12 -- a virtual eternity in TV advertising. The suspense, the majesty of the visuals and the fact that the narrator doesn't speak until 0:12 tends to draw us in to the emerging drama. It appeals to our curiosity and delays the sell point until we've absorbed something more fundamental.
The opening contains a promise. Stay with us; you'll be pleased with the result.
Once you see the full ad, you realize that Apple is talking about living life to the fullest and making a contribution. To do that you need the right tools. After all, that's what Apple is all about. It's in Apple's DNA, and the company has never been shy about reminding us about that for the last 30 or so years.
One of the techniques detractors will use is to conveniently forget about what Apple as a company has been trying to achieve for the last three decades. An appropriate amount of cynicism, which itself is routinely used to suggest a sharpness of wit and intellect, can be invoked to suggest that Apple is crassly playing with our emotions.
For most other companies, this might be the case. Companies that have spent their lifetimes trying to seduce us into their wares simply because they were adept at developing some interesting technology might be properly castigated for abruptly trying to appeal to our emotions. The disconnect between their performance to date and the hasty attempt to appeal to our human side creates a cognitive dissonance that we readily detect.
With Apple, however, that dissonance is not possible. Going back to the the era of Steve Jobs's vision, "Here's to the Crazy Ones," and even before that, we know that Apple has been successful because the company's vision has always been about bring out the best in human beings through the proper and elegant utilization of technology.
Technology Doesn't Magically Improve Us
From a humanistic point of view, however, we know that technology toys don't make us better people. If they did, the world's problems would have gradually disappeared by now, but they haven't. Digital hardware and software don't make us better human beings.
However, for those people who do have something to say, for those people who are compelled to make their microcosm a better place, express themselves, and celebrate the best that humans have to offer, the right kind of tool is a joy to use in the journey.
Microsoft believes that we all want to wake up on Christmas morning, receive an Surface Pro 2 and start building Excel spreadsheets while we sip on some hot cocoa. Slavery to the god of business and money is not something that truly inspires.
Watching Apple's ad, we are reminded that life is all about getting out, doing things, celebrating our time on this planet, and doing something for ourselves and others with passion. As Robin Williams narrates: "...poetry, beauty, romance, love." He continues: the powerful play goes on, and you'll contribute your own verse.
For those people already of good mind to do these things, this ad reminds them that Apple strives to build the very best tools to help write their own verses. It's a simple but strong message that reiterates what Apple has always stood for.
From time to time, Apple needs to remind us of that.
This ad repeats a human truth and a corporate vision that have real meaning. And that meaning can't be simply brushed away by those who never developed the balance of mind and good spirits that this ad celebrates.