Apple’s Verse

Earlier today, Apple released a new ad, which shows the iPad being used in a wide range of situations and places.

The voiceover has gotten a lot of attention, as it’s from a scene of Dead Poets Society.

Here’s the quote, courtesy of IMDb:

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here — that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

Past the quote, the new ad is pretty typical of what we’ve seen from Apple. Here are some other iPad ads that the company has aired over the years that are in the same vein:

And some iPhone ads:

Of course, there’s “Making a difference. One app at a time.” There’s the iOS 7 introduction video and the one about building the Mac Pro. Don’t forget about the ad about switching to Intel.1

All of these videos are meant to be emotional. They are meant to highlight the connections we can enjoy with each other thanks to what Apple’s products can do.

Every time Apple posts an ad like this, Apple fans post the link to Twitter, Facebook and their blogs. While I’ve done it in the past, every time it happens, I ask myself why.

I don’t pretend to fully understand marketing at this level, but it’s clear to me that at least part of these ads are for the Apple community. Seeing iPads being used to save lives in African clinics or helping children learn their letters or being used under the ocean to save endangered fish reinforces that we chose the right team to be on.

This is in stark contrast to videos like some of the original iPhone ads which introduced and demoed the product in 30 seconds.

Today, everyone knows what the iPhone is. Apple’s gone from talking about features to talking about the impact of those features.

I fear that Apple’s technique is growing a little stale, however.

The ad is fine, but it’s an extension of what Apple’s been doing for the last couple of years. While the Your Verses campaign is clever, and the New Depths page is simply stunning, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

I’m not suggesting that Apple’s stalling or doomed, but I’d sure like to see the company branch out a bit with these things.

  1. Remember this? ↩