Apple debuts two new iPhone 4S Siri commercials starring John Malkovich (with video)

Apple has debuted two new iPhone 4S Siri commercials on U.S. broadcast and cable networks. Both ads star the inimitable John Malkovich.

In both spots, Malkovich listens to opera and prompts Siri with one word commands.

In “Joke,” Malkovich utters only four words to Siri – “weather… evening… linguisa, joke” – before laughing and telling Siri, “That’s funny.” Siri asks, “Was it something I said?” to which Malkovich responds, “Yes, it was.”

In “Life,” Malkovich prompts Siri with “Life.” To which Siri responds, “Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.”

Malkovich says, to himself, “That’s pretty spectacular advice, actually,” and tells Siri, “Thank yo., I enjoyed this chat immensely. You were very eloquent.” Siri replies, “That’s nice of you to say.”

42 Comments

      1. I’m sure your loser comment was directed at Dave so I won’t let it bother me.

        These series of commercials are kind of spooky and only make me wonder if these people have a life. I know they are celebrities but I kind of feel sorry for them, reduced to having a relationship with their phone that has become persona.

    1. I know right. Those older apple ads with John Hodgman and Justin Long were so devoid of celebrity, especially the one where Giselle cameos. What about those iMac commercials with Jeff Goldblum. No celebs there either.

      1. True. But i’m not sure Long and Hodgman could be considered “celebrity,” as Sam Jackson and Malkovich are.. It’s a well known fact Jobs was completely against using celebrities to sell the product.

        1. Except for Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King Jr, Richard Branson, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Richard Feynman, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson, Kermit the Frog, Frank Lloyd Wright, or Pablo Picasso.

          Anyone else, nah.

          1. There is a big difference between a celebrity endorsement (i.e. John Malkovich “being” John Malkovich to sell the iPhone 4s) and actors (i.e. Justin Long and John Hodgman playing a part and acting as a PC and Mac) The think different campaign were not celebrity endorsements, in fact, quite the opposite, those ads were actually Apple endorsing celebrities who inspired creativity. Most (if not all) of them were already dead.

            1. In the bio he talked about this and said how he didn’t like using celebrities to endorse their products, nor did celebrities ever get freebies or new products in advance. He said he wanted the products to speak for themselves in ads.

              Read the bio, they are his words not mine.

            2. I don’t see the ads as product endorsements. I see them as little private episodes in a person’s life that emphasize an easy and comfortable relationship between a person (played by an actor) and the personal assistant.

              The ads would have been equally effective if the actors had been unfamiliar to us.

    2. If we’re counting voices, we can’t leave out that nobody, Richard Dryfus, that voiced the Think Different ads. Oh, and what about silhouettes? If those count, we’ve gotta not mention U2.

            1. MikeK is WRONG (again)…

              How about iTunes commercials?

              Look up Rip Mix Burn Apple commercial.

              Among the 20 artists featured are Barry White, George Clinton, Liz Phair, Steve Harwell of Smashmouth, De La Soul, Lil’ Kim, Ziggy Marley, Chuck Berry, Dwight Yoakam, Exene Cervenka and Deep Dish.

              (It happened repeatedly with Steve Jobs at the helm of Apple so your point loses any credibility you were trying to muster.)

              These commercials all happened towards the beginning when Steve Jobs came back to Apple and became CEO of Apple. He started his comeback with these commercials. Now Tim Cook became CEO and is following the same footsteps as Steve Jobs did when he took the same position.

              Proof of “post Jobs era”? Feels more like we’re repeating the era rather than changing anything and history shows this.

            2. Dude you’re a moron. Why are you hell bent on trying to prove that i’m wrong when the words are documented, straight from Steve Jobs’ mouth.

              The iTunes ads we’re all musicians advertising their music that is FOR SALE in the iTunes store. Very different scenario.

            3. In the bio he talked about this and said how he didn’t like using celebrities to endorse their products, nor did celebrities ever get freebies or new products in advance. He said he wanted the products to speak for themselves in ads.

              Read the bio, they are his words not mine.

            4. I’m just stating that your “post Jobs era” tripe is bs which it is. I don’t care what Steve Jobs stated in his bio.. words and actions aren’t always the same thing which history has shown.

              (and the iTunes ad was an advertisement for Apple’s iTunes…)

            5. Tripe? Post Jobs era, BS? Hmmm.. interesting perspective you’ve got. Jobs clearly said he doesn’t like celebrity endorsements, and it was about 15 years since he actually used one. And now after his passing there is a new campaign with celebrity endorsements. I’d say that’s a pretty clear indicator of a post Jobs era move.

  1. I have to admit, I am surprised that Siri (what Apple calls a beta application) is the focus of iPhone advertising. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I often can’t get Siri to work because, I suspect, the network is congested. Siri is far from the smooth interplay in these ads. In fact, it did a much better job handling my inquiries when it was first released. Instead of getting smarter, it now answers less of my questions.

    1. While that may true in the Bay Area, here in Columbus, Ohio I have no trouble with Siri. I have not found that Siri is getting any slower or having any problems with my question or interactions. I think you are correct about network traffic but only so far as it relates to your local area, not Siri in general. I spent last week in Bordentown, NJ and also had no problems.

      I don’t mean this as an insult, just my own experience.

      1. Your point is well taken, dab2. AT&T is really horribly congested in the Bay Area. So, I won’t be hasty to blame Apple for this. It may well be AT&T’s congested network.

  2. These two, along with the prior two (Sam Jackson, Zoey Dechanel) have a powerful subliminal message. While on the surface they seem overly simplistic, not really advertising any thing of importance (why bother?), they reenforce this powerful impression of a device that is intelligent, responsive, simple and utterly intuitive to use. You simply make a conversation with it (not just talk to it). This subtle difference is as significant as night and day.

    The main purpose for these ads is to further separate (elevate) iPhone from everything else out there. They are extremely effective at that.

    1. Yes…the four ads have a relaxed, engaged atmosphere, in contrast to almost any other company’s. All four emphasize the personal and seem to make the technology recede.

      (Was that Maria Callas singing opera?)

      These ads cap Apple’s decades-long focus on the friendly aspect of technology. Apple has done more than anyone to banish the public’s tendency to fear and mistrust anthropomorphic computers, exemplified by such menaces as HAL in 2001 and The Terminator.

  3. Malkovich appears like he auditioning for the role of Hannible Lector. Still, I like the series of commercials. It’s a fresh departure from the previous style. I predict that there is more to this focus on Siri than just selling the iPhone.

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