Apple’s TV ads touting ‘Designed in California’ flop in TV viewer survey [UPDATED]

“Apple Inc.’s newest TV commercials, showing consumers enjoying its products while an actor reads the company’s corporate philosophy, are a flop compared with earlier ads from the maker of iPhones and iPads,” Peter Burrows reports for Businessweek.

“The company’s latest ad, which began airing June 10, has earned the lowest score of 26 Apple TV ads in the past year, according to Ace Metrix Inc., a consulting firm that analyzes the effectiveness of TV ads through surveys of at least 500 TV viewers,” Burrows reports. “The ad scored 489 on the company’s scoring system, below an industry average of 542 and far below past iconic Apple campaigns that often topped 700.”

Burrows reports, “The change in tack started earlier this year, with similar ads that highlighted the iPhone’s status as a popular camera and music player. These ads, which show contemplative montages of people using iPhones in their daily rounds, also fared poorly by Apple’s standards on Ace Metrix’s scale, with scores of 560 and 537, respectively.”

“Apple’s new ad, dubbed ‘Designed by Apple in California,’ scored a 528 on ‘Information,’ versus an hardware-industry average of 603,” Burrows reports. “A recent ad for Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 phone that showed features such as the ability to answer a call without touching the screen scored a 757 by that same measure.”

MacDailyNews Take: The reason why the Apple ads in question scored low on the “Information” metric is because they are not informational ads.

Shocking, we know.

Burrows reports, “Edward Boches, a professor of advertising at Boston University. said the final seconds of the ad may strike some viewers as inappropriately political. The words ‘Designed by Apple in California’ appear as the voice says, ‘This is our signature, and it means everything.’ ‘Is this a subtle way of saying we’re not a Korean company? That’s not the way a leader like Apple should talk,’ said Boches, who also described himself as a ‘huge fan’ of Apple.”

MacDailyNews Note: UPDATE: June 28, 2013 @ 2:05pm EDT: This report has been called into question due to the fact that is has since been revealed that Ace Metrix counts Samsung among it’s clients. Read more:

Businessweek says Apple’s TV Ads ‘flop’ based on survey from Ace Metrix – which counts Samsung as a client – June 28, 2013

Read more in the full article – Think Before You Click™here.

MacDailyNews Take: It also doesn’t help that, in America, a California riddled with high costs, taxes, heavy traffic, chronic budgetary crises, a public education system crying for reform, a general pervasive dysfunction, etc., may also not be considered the booming success story it once was.

For those of us who have lived in California and since fled, the words “Designed by Apple in California” are invariably followed by the thought, “better you than me.”

Why exclude 49 other states when you can easily include them? Perhaps Apple should say “Designed by Apple in the USA” instead? Doing so would broaden the appeal to the whole country.


  1. While I like the ad for it’s simplicity and the general theme of their previous ads, it doesn’t really show off the products very well.

    I mean, they don’t have the glitz and special effects of other ads that make you almost forget what they are trying to promote. Samsung’s ad where people are in an airport looking at someone’s phone and telling them that they can answer a phone by ‘waving’ their hand in front of it (but only when someone calls) isn’t exactly inspiring, but at least I got a chuckle the first time I saw it.

    1. Sorry can’t take it any longer; we’re so much better than this.

      For Havok, Ellis D., Dresden Sparrow, et al. . . . .

      “it’s” = “it is”
      “its” = possessive pronoun, such as in “Apple needs to rally its [not it’s!] troops . . . .”

      Some discrimination is an evil thing, folks. Knowing the difference between these two simple concepts is not.

      1. I bow to you. Thank you for defending what’s left of the English language. You said it better than I would have. Poor use of English is a pet peeve of mine. Your example is one that I see even from journalists, which makes me wonder how many unemployed proofreaders and editors exist.

        Somewhere in Heaven, my dear departed mom, possessed with a Master’s in English and perfect grammar, is smiling upon you.

      2. Thanks Tyrell, I usually catch other people’s mistake and it annoys me as well. I was writing my comment rather quickly and didn’t read it over before submitting it.

  2. These ‘Made In California’ ads are targeted at Apple employees, just as the ‘Think Different’ campaign was in the 90s.

    Apple needs to rally it’s troops now more than ever. This is the Clarion Call to action.

    I love these ads.

    1. I agree. They are for apple users. They affirm the difference in quality of their product. These commercials are overwhelmingly positive for the base. Whichis important in any business. They are notintended to generate new customers. I’m sure they will continue in that direction too. I personally love these ads. Best ads in a while, IMO.

    2. If true, it strikes me as incredibly wasteful… and fiduciarily irresponsible. Wouldn’t be a lot less expensive just to send the message to every employee in an email?

    3. Any TV ads are great. These stations have targeted Apple partly because they get money to run ads for everyone else. I to would like better ads and an interview with Tim Cook or anyone at the top would be helpful. Have fun with it! Apple could do a video conferenced interview from one or more of the billion dollar server farms and ask the talking head, “Why do you think we are building these?” “How many of these are we building at this time and where?” “How can you value AAPL stock if you don’t understand where we are going next?”

      Clueless idiots! Can’t stream 4K HDTV to the new Mac Pro home entertainment hubs without them. Take the time to look at a 4K HDTV and you will see where this is going and why. 4K media doesn’t sit on a DVD but 2 4K streams can be served from those new Mac Pros. They come in black to match your home entertainment equipment.

      1. Designed in California has been “Apple’s Signature” for a very long time. People turning this into something political are just doing so to start a flame war.

    4. Yet another circle jerk article. Advertising campaigns should be looked at in a longer-term perspective. I personally defend this campaign, as I think it is excellent storytelling. The concepts are simple and position the company. My hunch is that the next campaign will be more product-specific, not to remedy what was criticized above by the punditocracy (who enjoy poking a stick in Apple’s collective eye) but to layer in another texture to tell a larger story to the public.

      Bob Garfield, the once all-powerful ad critic for the trade publication Advertising Age once lambasted the now famous Apple “Think Different” campaign shortly after it launched. He saw no sense in it, felt it did nothing to position the company, and showed his scorn for the company at the time. Looking back, it is clear how wrong Garfield was. The “Think Different” campaign is now viewed as groundbreaking, a campaign that not only was a call to arms, but positioned Apple for what was to come.

      Pundits are so busy being right that they fail to see beyond their collective noses. Screw the polling. Screw the immediate snobby, academic analysis. Damn the torpedoes and full steam ahead.

      Or perhaps these same “experts” pine for the “Genius” ad campaign. Or the tasteless ads being pumped out by Samsung’s ad agencies. As for me, I’ll stick to the higher ground. In the long run, I am confident that these ads, and future campaigns to come, will have a positive effect.

    1. Apple is a global company- very soon most of its profits will come from outside the USA. Not sure emphasizing their USA origin is necessarily the right approach either.

  3. Apple sells more products outside the USA than inside. Foreigners generally aren’t aware of the financial affairs of a single one out of 50 of your States so California still carries a cachet with it.

    1. These ads run all day long in America. I see it at least 3 times per day.

      In much of the US, even in California itself, California is considered a failure, a mess, not a place in which anyone would want to live given the current societal and governmental problems.

      1. Tired arguments and clichés from those who are insanely jealous. 38+ million people disagree. And the state added the most jobs in the country lately and still had one of the largest population inflows in the country. Clearly it is a very desirable place to work and live.

      1. Apple plans to hire lower paying and skilled jobs in Austin (e.g. “support functions”, customer support, etc.). Meanwhile, it is adding 7,400 highly skilled jobs to Cupertino, CA and building a $1.5 billion new building there as well. So your point is quite weak.

  4. I find it sad that American viewers don’t have some pride in “Designed by Apple in California”. We have so little that we actually accomplish! We are great consumers, just no longer producers, and no one seems to think that is a problem.

    1. If it wasn’t for the weather and the vestigial infrastructure left by silicon valley’s heyday after Fairchild and its descendents set up camp here, it would be another Detroit. It’s sad to say. I’ve been here since 74 and it has become more and more strangled in bureaucracy.

      1. I live in Ca, have for 40 years. It’s a turd smudge.
        Don’t believe the crap you are fed by the State politburo.
        There’s been improvements in employment despite what the politicians have done not because.
        We’re seeing another housing bubble start to form, the state’s debt is still huge (not to mention unfunded liabilities). Gov Regs are out of control and we have a huge crimigrant slave workforce depressing wages.

        And now with the recently enacted Crap n Trade it’s going to get more costly to be a resident / business owner (unless you are part of the protected welfare class).

        Yup it’s the golden state all right, more like the golden shower state.

    2. California bashing has existed from those who are jealous or have political motivations since the early 1900s. People like you must feel really silly when making such asinine statements while watching the state grow to one of the world’s largest economies, center for technology, tourism, media, entertainment, defense, life sciences, agriculture, environment etc. and grow into the most populous state in the Union as it attracts thousands of cutting edge businesses and tens of thousands of skilled migrants, from around the country and world, annually.

    3. Ah, mention California in any respect and the American equivalent of the Taleban appear from the cracks with their usual tired lies and propaganda.

  5. I thought the “Designed in California” tag is meant to appeal to customers outside the US? After all aren’t 75% of Apple’s customers non US. Designed in California is cool, designed in Seoul ain’t.

    1. So, why the heavy U.S. ad buy? These ads are all over prime time in the US.

      Much of the US thinks California is emblematic of all that is WRONG with the country. I mean, seriously, Jerry Brown is the governor! The guy that accelerated the state’s decline in the first place!

      Only Apple seems to think “Designed in California” has a positive meaning to most U.S. viewers.

      Run these ads outside the U.S. where they think of the California of the 1950’s, not the dysfunctional calamity it is today.

      1. There are also those who think that California is aspirational, compared to Oklahoma, Utah, Texas or Arizona, for example. Californias biggest problem its failure to collect the taxes it needs to run its infrastructure.

  6. The real slogan is:

    “Designed by a Brit who’s stuck in California because that’s where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were born.”

    (Brought to you by Carl’s Jr.)

  7. Apple’s ads fail to resonate with most citizens because the message is irrelevant. I couldn’t care less where my Apple products are designed. I just want Apple to continue making the best products on the planet. Screw these ads, put the money into R&D and let the products speak for themselves.

      1. The quality and functionality of Apple’s products speak for Apple. These ads serve no purpose except for accentuating Apple’s gratuitous self aggrandizement. STFU, Apple, and get to work.

  8. Where has everyone else been?

    Apple, has always been a “California” company. The Ethos hasn’t changed. Sure there are problems in the state.

    The author of the article is an idiot, writing another hit piece, looking for something where there is none.

    Designed in California, has been Apple’s signature for as long as I can remember, and that’s a long time. If anyone thinks it’s a political statement, is surely ignorant.

    Calling out the commercial on an information scale, is like calling out 1984 by the same merits, a great commercial, no doubt, but neither were infomercials. Again it’s like saying a Baskin Robins 31 flavors commercial rates low on the pancake scale.

    Hit piece, to suggest Apple has lost it’s mojo. The problem is, just like the Iraq War run-up spin machine, you say anything, enough times, and it sticks. A lot of people want to #*%^ Apple, to get at that $100+ billion in cash. It’s exactly the same thing that happened to California under Davis, when it had $40 billion surplus just before the dot com bust.

    1. Apple’s ads are smug, divisive, and provincial. A Brit is Apple’s chief designer, and Apple personnel from across the nation and around the globe have contributed to Apple’s greatness. It’s not at all true that Apple’s success is solely attributed to the folks in California.

      1. The “Designed in California” blurb isn’t about Apple’s success or what factors led to it.

        It’s about where Apple products are “designed”… which happens to be solely in CA.

      2. I never said Apple was a California company because it was made up if Californians. It just is a California company as it was founded there in the Silicon Vallley. The principals for which it stands, hasn’t changed for that geographical region.

        They could have just as easily said “Designed in Silicon Valley” and for most of us it would have a positive meaning, but considering the rest of the world, and I am sure Apple thinks about this, California is better understood.

        By itself, California is recognized as a media mecca, has a positive global ethos, is in the top 10 GDP, and in general thought more highly than all of the USA. It’s like America’s version of Canada, but with drugs, crime and prisons.

      3. It doesn’t say designed in California by Californians or by US citizens. As far as I see it it’s intended to suggest that it’s proud of and holds to the character it developed in its earliest days – in the creative melting pot of garage tech California.
        I’m not a fanboy but Apple, for me, still makes the best kit, the most carefully thought-out, the best designed. It probably is worth celebrating that … and the place that it occurs.
        California may be in some economic difficulty now but it has been a vibrant place, is still, as I understand it from the UK, a net contributor to the US federal budget and will, I suspect, be successful in the future.

    2. I’m pretty sure the point of the ad is more about the Design and less about California. Everyone seems to be fixated on the latter, and hellbent on bashing it, much like writers like these are with Apple.

  9. Apple is attacked from left to right , alarming Samsung paid the media to get back to Apple (Bloomberg, WSJ, Reuter, etc) , Hedge Fund managers’re taking advantage of the twilight after Steve Jobs passed away to hammer AAPL for profit, Can anyone see it?. Can anyone STOP this insane going on?.

  10. Bloomberg plus others have written many negative articles about Apple and also calling foreign investors invest with Samsung, obviously Samsung wants to get back to Apple, and the Hedge Fund managers want to hammer Apple for quick bucks, read for yourselves guys.
    I think Bloomberg has connection with Samsung or being bought by Samsung which called American investors to invest in Korea. Read on for yourselves guys.

    I think Bloomberg has connection with Samsung or being bought by Samsung which called American investors to invest in Korea. Read on for yourselves guys.

    S.Korean shares extend gains on Samsung Elec, foreign buying.
    * Foreign investors buy following 14 straight sessions of selling

    * Samsung Elec shares jump after hitting a 9-1/2-mth low

    * Woori Finance units rally on privatisation expectations

    SEOUL, June 27 (Reuters) – Seoul shares extended gains and rose 2.6 percent on Thursday as foreign investors turned net buyers and as Samsung Electronics shares, the largest component on the main KOSPI, rallied after a prolonged correction..
    “The market is seeing a technical rebound on bargain hunting, but (upward moves) probably are not being established as a trend … the stance on emerging markets is still cautious,” said Lim Soo-gyoun, a market analyst at Samsung Securities.

    Foreign buying was modest at a net 12.8 billion Korean won ($11.09 million), but still poised to snap 14 straight sessions of selling.

    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index was up at 1,830.21 points as of 0142 GMT.


  11. Those who claim that California is a synonym for decaying economic and political mess clearly have an ax to grind.

    For the vast majority of average Americans, California still equals sunshine, Hollywood, glamour, as well as the innovative spirit of the Silicon Valley. Non-Californians are mostly oblivious to any fiscal or other troubles the state may be going through.

    The ads are effective, and most definitely don’t conform to standards that test well in polls.

    1. California actually is a synonym for decaying economic and political mess.

      No two ways about it. In the rest of the U.S. and many other places, excluding the low-information crowd, this is a clear fact that is widely known.

      Only a fool thinks of California as sun, Hollywood, and glamour. This isn’t 1955. Most Hollywood “stars” are known to be what they’ve always been: narcissistic, drug-addicted, STD-infected, damaged airheads that no sane person should ever look to for guidance other than as prime examples of exactly how not to live.

      1. “These ads serve no purpose except for accentuating Apple’s gratuitous self aggrandizement.”

        As much as I hate to admit it, worst Apple ad ever.

      2. That is actually totally false. Here in Australia as well as other places I have lived, such as England, Ireland, Spain and New Zealand, California has always been looked up to as at the forefront of innovation, social and environmental issues and has a very strong progressive “brand”, whilst the “US” generally has a much lower “brand” value, due to the Bushes and their wars. This is why I believe Apple flaunts “California” over the “US”, which is typically associated with arrogance due to international politics.

        I also had the opportunity to work and live in California for a few years, recently and I must say it is one of the most beautiful regions in the work, the people are very friendly, the food, wine etc. are top notch. After travelling most of the US, I found that California is by far in almost every measure the best place in the US and much closer to the “open” and multicultural mindset I am used to. Even in Australia and in Europe, we also have the same “rightwing nuts” that bash anything successful or progressive or “multicultural” in their respective countries, as the likes of you are doing on this thread. Luckily these people are always in the minority. California in my mind remains a beacon in the US and the majority of Americans I came across throughout my years in the US agree and look up to the state (and most dream of living there as well).

        I would move back in a hear beat if I could.

        as an Australian, I had the pleasure of working and living in California for a few years very recently.

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