Apple heralds Beatles' arrival in iTunes with 3 new commercials

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Nov 22 2010

In case you've been under a rock (with a Sony Walkman, no doubt), you are probably aware that Apple Inc. and Apple Corps have struck a deal to finally bring the Beatles' music to iTunes. Apparently, Apple is eager to reach the under-a-rock demo, because the company and TBWA\Media Arts Lab have rolled out three new TV spots announcing the Fab Four's entry into Apple's digital jukebox. The ads are pretty much what you'd expect: shots of the Beatles, with their songs playing in the background. (The spots use songs by John, Paul and George. Alas, Ringo is the odd man out again.) The images will no doubt evoke nostalgia, not only for the going-on-half-a-century-ago 1960s, but for the wall-to-wall ads for The Beatles: Rock Band that hit last fall as well. Two more spots after the jump.

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New MacBook Air ad hews closely to Apple advertising script

By Elena Malykhina on Tue Oct 26 2010

I think, by now, we've all come to recognize Apple's ads: The featured device against a solid background, a few moments of music followed by a showcase of the device's best features, and a closing statement that leaves you curious even if you're not an Apple fan. Behold this ad for the new MacBook Air from TBWA's Media Arts Lab. The ad opens with a shot of a closed laptop and a piano solo that builds as the voiceover says: "Everything we've learned has come down to this." A hand flips open the laptop sideways to reveal its slim form. "The next generation of MacBooks," the ad concludes. The spot may not seem to say much, but it accomplishes the main goal, which is to reveal the new model and intrigue consumers enough to make them do their own research. While some bloggers have dubbed the latest MacBook Air a larger, faster version of an iPad, "next generation" refers to the new 11.6" and 13.3" models, which reportedly, will be sold at lower pricepoints ($999-$1,599 versus $1,500-$1,800 for older models). The products are also said to have improved capabilities from the first generation of MacBook Airs. And with other big news coming from Apple, including the Lion operating system and the Mac App Store, the ad couldn't be more timely.

Was Apple behind impromptu iPhone concert on NY subway?

By David Kiefaber on Mon Oct 25 2010

Indie-ish rock band Atomic Tom played a free, impromptu iPhone concert on an NYC subway last week after their equipment was stolen, so naturally some people assumed that it was a publicity stunt set up by Apple to guerrilla market a product that almost every American owns already. Whether it was real or staged is kind of a useless question, because either way it's still advertising the iPhone by using it to problem-solve. Not everyone needs an ad agency to be creative, you know. But beyond that, the most amusing part of this story is how unremarkable it is—people play free music on real instruments in subway stations and other public thoroughfares all the time. What people should be asking after all this is whether a band that can recreate their music on iPhone instrument simulators is really worth listening to (hint: no they're not).

Homemade iPad video allows the device to be fun, not just cool

By David Kiefaber on Tue Sep 28 2010

Apple's marketing concept for the iPad thus far has relied on two concepts: a) that a simple demonstration of the product will sell it, given Apple's strong brand presence, and b) that a high-pitched audio frequency can drive college students and yuppies insane with capitalistic desire. Well, that second bit is pure speculation, but it's true that Apple is relying on faith in its product lineup as a whole to sell this new addition to it. God knows, selling iPads on their own merits ("It's a big iPhone that doesn't make calls, and none of the apps carry over!") would be an uphill challenge. But videos like the one above demonstrate a different side to the iPad, one that suggests Apple products are as fun as they are cool. It's an angle that Apple should foster. Its "Mac v. PC" series, while popular, became insipid enough to trigger a backlash, so its aren't-we-clever promotional attitude has clearly run its course. And it can't coast on reputation forever, cult of personality or not. So, the idea that its products are fun and inspire, as well as facilitate, creativity—touched on in past campaigns, but always trumped by the "cool" factor—might be a good approach to keep them distinct from competitors who mostly focus on productivity.

Nissan Leaf changes the course of humanity in brand's new iAd

Posted on Fri Jul 2 2010

If you were one of the thousands who lined up for your new Apple iPhone 4, you can now, uh, enjoy one of the new features—an iAd for the Nissan Leaf. The ad, which jumps from a banner to full-screen, compares the electric car to the iPhone (which is also electric!) and declares it a "perfect match" for the device. Nissan touts the ad as a "perfectly seamless experience" within the iPhone, since it doesn't send you to a separate browser. The actual ad is pretty cool, but after the novelty fades, it's hard to imagine many people using up their power and bandwidth to watch cool ads. But, hey, I didn't think anyone would buy the iPad, either. What do I know?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

World is one big video-calling lovefest Sam Mendes' iPhone 4 ad

Posted on Wed Jun 9 2010

Apple got American Beauty director Sam Mendes to work his magic on this ad for the new iPhone 4, whose primary selling point is the "Facetime" video-calling app. Just in time, too, as a bright new shiny thing can again distract people from Apple's flaws, like the slipshod labor monitoring and WiFi deficiencies. We've seen this before—people want to buy iPads despite not really understanding what, if anything, they do. Once again, Apple has hit upon the ultimate balance of marketing their consumers' intelligence while profiting from their credulity.

—Posted by David Kiefaber

iPad's 'Modern Family' cameo worth close to $1 million for Apple

Posted on Thu Apr 8 2010


Who says you can't put a price on publicity? The Apple iPad product placement in last week's episode of the ABC hit sitcom Modern Family might've been free, but it sure was worth a chunk of change. Joyce Julius & Associates estimates the iPad hauled in some $650,000 worth of television exposure and another $250,000 from print and Internet stories about the extensive integration. The episode, dubbed "Game Changer," centered on goofy gadget-lover Phil Dunphy and his lust for getting an iPad for his birthday. He did end up with one—he even got to blow out the virtual candles—but not until his family went to extreme lengths to secure the coveted e-tablet. (Faking a terminal illness was involved.) The iPad had nine name checks in the show and appeared on screen for 37 seconds, the research firm said. (A few of those were in the final scene, when Phil stroked his new iPad and professed his love—out loud.) The Apple name itself, in addition to being the Dunphy household's computer brand of choice, had nine seconds of face time and one verbal reference, according to the research. About 9.5 million people watched the show, during which Apple bought no ads. If it had, it would've needed to cough up $130,388 for a 30-second spot. No need for that, though. As usual, Apple wins again.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Hewlett-Packard pitches the Slate ... the tablet that isn't the iPad

Posted on Wed Apr 7 2010

Hewlett-Packard wants you to know that the iPad isn't the only tablet device out there. Concurrent with Apple's release, HP has rolled out this 30-second demo showing all the cool stuff it's Slate gizmo does. As the Silicon Alley Insider notes, this HP blog post doesn't directly mention Apple but implicitly criticizes the iPad by highlighting Slate features that the iPad lacks, like Adobe Flash and Air support and an implanted camera. The Slate is likely to be priced at $549, more expensive than the cheapest iPad (which is $499). HP, which once licensed Apple's iPod, clearly has its work cut out for it, but it's clear that the industry is no longer flat-footed when confronted by Apple's new high-profile releases.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Everyone's buying an iPad, even those who then just annihilate it

Posted on Mon Apr 5 2010

Since it's clear that no one wants to read about anything but the iPad today, here's a video of a guy destroying one with a baseball bat. There's not much to learn here, except that iPads apparently are not strong enough to withstand the repeated blows from a blunt instrument. But the video is more intriguing for the questions it raises than those it answers. For instance, what type of person waits in line for hours and plunks down $500 for an iPad, parks himself in front of a line of consumers waiting for their own iPad and then beats it to a pulp? Is this performance art? If so, what is the artist trying to say? Perhaps it's a statement about materialism in the 21st century? Or maybe it's just a dumb guy with lots of money who needs the attention.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Apple's iPad gets 30 minutes of love from ABC's 'Modern Family'

Posted on Thu Apr 1 2010


All of geekdom is salivating over the launch of the iPad this Saturday, and nerdy Phil, one of the main characters on ABC's hit sitcom Modern Family, was no exception in this week's episode, dubbed "Game Changer." In fact, the self-described early adopter, whose birthday on the show coincides with the debut of the coveted tablet, says that "Steve Jobs and God" must've gotten together to make his special day even more special. One of the episode's main plots revolves around the wacky pursuit of an iPad after Phil's wife oversleeps and misses the initial batch, which sold like hot cakes in the wee hours. So, yes, there's a lot of very valuable product placement that the device doesn't even need. I'm convinced Apple paid nothing here, simply giving a nod to the writers to liberally sprinkle in iPad references and glam shots at will. Expect this to be the first in a long line of iPad cameos on TV series. In this case, it certainly fits with a character that fans have come to love as a techie who'd be crushed without the newest must-have gadget. And when he finds out that his son put out the word that he was dying in order to score an iPad, he'll be OK with it.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley



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