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.)

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