The Camera iPhone Ad

May 9th, 2013

Ken Segall on Apple’s camera iPhone ad:

What this commercial does so well is capture the human side of technology. It’s a reflection of daily life, and it’s easy to see ourselves in it. The ad shows us how essential our phones have become, enabling us to capture the people, places and images we don’t want to forget.

What’s powerful about this ad to me is that it’s just people living, experiencing and enjoying little moments and big moments, and the iPhone is just there to capture some of it. Not to be front-and-center, not to be the focus of attention—just to snap a little part of it and continue on. It’s not that the iPhone is incidental to these moments; in fact, in many of them, it’s integral (kids videotaping their friends skating, snapping random photos of puddles). But none of these little vignettes have someone with their head buried in an app, ignoring everything around them—the iPhone is there to capture or make certain moments better.

Of course, the iPhone certainly does allow people to bury their heads and disappear from what’s going on around them, and people (we) certainly do that. I think, though, that’s counter to the iPhone’s spirit, and I love that this ad embodies that the iPhone is meant to make day-to-day life better, rather than to capture our lives altogether.

The ad doesn’t provide a ready-made tagline for why you should purchase the iPhone. There’s no explicit or implicit comparison to competing devices (except for the ending “Every day, more photos are taken with an iPhone than any other camera,” but that says more to what the iPhone is than to what the competition isn’t). It’s simply an affirmation of what Apple believes the iPhone to be, what its intent is, and that intent is much larger than the feature set.

And it’s a powerful ad because of that. I think this is Apple’s best ad since the “Think Different” campaign, and it very much the same kind of ad: it’s about what Apple is, not what their products do.