Great holiday Apple ad turns “staring at your phone” on its head

Sections: Ads & Media, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad

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Apple's holiday ad

Those of us who owns a smartphones have likely been told, at least once in our life, to stop staring at it during family gatherings.

That a lot of people see smartphones as a social barrier that closes us off from those around us is a challenge for Apple and other gadget companies when it comes to marketing. How do you make a heartwarming, holidays-and-family-themed commercial for the device that a lot of people use to ignore their relatives?

A new Apple ad, released to the web Monday, threads that needle absolutely beautifully.

The 90-second ad—titled “Misunderstood”—features a sullen-looking teenage boy coming home on a snowy holiday and, when surrounded by his large extended family, never stops staring down at his iPhone the entire time. Until, that is, the surprise ending:

Turns out the boy wasn’t staring down to ignore everyone—he was filming the party. He put together a family video—presumably edited and scored with music on his iPhone—and beamed it to the living room TV, probably using Apple TV.

It’s a wonderful holiday ad, which neatly subverts viewer expectation while also completely lacking the smug tone often prevalent in Apple’s ads of the past.

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  1. You’re joking, right? If he’s filming, he’s not participating. The iPhone is still a distancing mechanism. And why beam it to the living room TV, for crying out loud? The people in the living room are in the real thing.

    Jane Chin
  2. Haters gonna hate

  3. I’m an Android guy, and I think it’s the best Christmas commercial.