Some companies know how advertise, while others get it so absolutely wrong that their ads ending up looking like parodies. Apple fall into the first category. Their slick, appealing sales pitches really resonate. Although often their ads are little more than a product demonstration, Apple manages to present them in such a way that it’s almost like being offered a taste of something wonderful without ever actually getting near it, and yet leaving the viewer feeling like they’ve feasted like kings.
Here, we take a look at the iPhone ads which have made a difference to how we buy and use smartphones. The technologies demonstrated might not all have been Apple’s idea, originally, but because Apple knows how to sell the idea so well, they ended up taking most of the credit (and sales).
The original and, some would say, best iPhone ad ever. As a sign of the Apple marketing strategy that has carried them through the past 8 years, it doesn’t actually tell you anything, and gives just a single shot of the first iPhone after dozens of movie clips. The birth of a legend or a monster, depending on your viewpoint.
The ad that launched the iPhone 3 is constructed to look like something out of Mission Impossible or the Bourne Trilogy. A marked departure from the slew of single-user narratives that had taken up most of the previous 12 months, the campaign set online forums of the time on fire with rumour and specualtion, a trend which continues to this day.
Although not a great ad visually or informatively, this is one of a series of ads which helped shape the world as we now know it, making Apps what they are today. Aesthetically average, but culturally game changing and ultimately leading to the “There’s an app for that” campaign which embedded the word in our minds forever.
Apple, although from a technology standpoint starting to be overtaken by the likes of Samsung, capitalised on the fact that nobody else seemed to know how to advertise effectively. Although nominally another product demonstration, the entire campaign was based around promoting elitism by use of an iPhone. The campaign also launched a thousand parodies.
With the launch of the iPhone 4S, came Siri, Apple’s own voice recognition software. The ad is slightly misleading in that it understands every word Zooey Deschanel is saying, and yet early versions proved almost unusable in real life. The campaign ran for longer than most of Apple’s offerings, possibly giving a clue to how much money they’d invested in the technology. It worked, Siri sold millions of iPhones on her own.
Camera phones had been around for years, but the dubious quality of the hardware meant they were often underused. Selfies had been around for even longer, and Apple set out to marry the two in one campaign. It also promoted the use of camera phones at concerts, meaning nobody actually sees a gig any more, and they all have the video to prove it. Visually, though, this is one of Apple’s very best.
If ever a campaign showed absolutely nothing of any use to anybody, anywhere, ever, this was it. However, it became massively significant by the fact it was the first mass-public showing of the iPhone 6 Plus, and it had the simple byline “Coming Soon”, which was enough to tip the Twitterati into meltdown both for and against the iPhone 6 and Apple generally. Yet another stroke of genius by Apple in selling nothing, but selling lots of it.