That Much-Despised Apple Ad Could Be More Disturbing Than It Looks

Apple has apologized, but like writer Peter C. Baker, I’m not quite ready to let go of that really horrifying ad depicting a roomful of beautifully displayed musical instruments, sound gear, art supplies, and even toys being slowly squashed by a huge hydraulic press (ostensibly to highlight the creative potential of the latest iPad).

Picture it: A team of experienced, well-paid professionals spent months refining a strategy. Ideas were pitched, culled, refined, mocked up. Eventually, after countless steps, a winner emerged, and somehow it was this. They could have depicted all that gear being cheerfully shrunken and squeezed into one iPad, awaiting creative fun. Instead, they went with just demolishing it all. Did no one point out that people are increasingly wary of tech companies’ impact on the creative professions? That people have soured on Silicon Valley’s apparent desire to monetize human creativity in as many ways as possible, from extractive streaming arrangements to harvesting human-made art as A.I.-training material? Did no one sense how bad this would look? It’s not just that the ad is a car crash — it’s that the people who poured so much work and money into something so off-putting appear to have thought they were orchestrating a parade.

It wasn’t so long ago that tech companies could advertise by telling us about new possibilities. Whatever their flaws, they really were injecting genuine novelty into the human experience: Suddenly you could carry thousands of songs in your pocket, take a decent picture on your phone and instantly share it, make a video call to someone on the other side of the planet. It wasn’t hard for ads to set an optimistic tone; they simply showed people using new products in their daily lives and having new flavors of fun doing it. —NYT/dnyuz

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