Love it or hate it, Apple’s new Christmas spot normalizes the glow

“There are two camps gathering in reaction to the new Apple Christmas spot: one faction represented well by my own editor, Jennifer Rooney, in her, ‘The iPhone ‘Misunderstood’ Christmas Ad Is A Sad Commentary On Culture And Does Apple No Favors;’ the other represented by fellow Contributor, Mark Rogowsky, ‘Apple Offers Up 90 Seconds Of Magic, Just In Time For Christmas,'” Will Burns writes for Forbes. “I think they are both right, and that’s exactly why this spot works.”

“I am a parent of three and share Rooney’s view that our culture needs to be careful about screen time and overdoing it. And I’m quite sure she’s not alone. This view has become the parental conventional wisdom these days,” Burns writes. “Saturday night when you’re at a Christmas party, listen. I guarantee someone will bring up the topic of their kids and how hard it is to get them off their mobile devices. Heck, I have a nephew named Owen that my sister calls “Glowin’ Owen” because his face is always aglow with the light of his iPhone.”

Burns writes, “Apple is clearly aware of this negative social undercurrent. Moms and Dads are powerful, after all. And Apple created this spot to address this social issue directly.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s ‘Misunderstood’ Christmas ad is a sad commentary on culture and does Apple no favors – December 17, 2013
Apple debuts touching new ‘Happy Holidays’ TV ad (with video) – December 16, 2013


    1. Agreed! Also, it’s pretty clear that the child is involved. Everyone is blowing this waaaay out of proportion. The child helps empty the car, is seen decorating the tree, is sledding, and everything else. There is no disconnect here. Rather the child is going back and forth between living and creating. It’s a beautiful thing.

    2. Dear fellow MDN frequenters,
      Anyone who sees anything other than a brilliant ad or just a nice ad is clearly searching for things that are not there! It starts with the typical (!) teen who appears to resist the Christmas Spirit and then the second part, a change in sound, quite literary perspective of that teen. It turns out the teen is not so rebellious after all and has clearly been more involved than the audience initially may have thought.

      Although it is short, it is a film, well done!

      Those who can relate because they have an autistic friend or relative are most certainly free to do so, but this is a typical teen.

      I hope that all of you will have a Christmas as warm and friendly looking as this family does, whether you are religious or just celebrating life itself!

  1. “There are two camps gathering in reaction . . . ”

    Translation – We are trying to create a controversy in order to generate publicity for ourselves.
    Man, what an ego.

      1. I missed the bus stops in HK because my location on the map was 200m off. I thought that only happens with Moves app in China where the app places you 800m NW from your location. Anyway, I understood it immediately when I was closer to the sea and the map showed me I was on the water. Then, quick restart of the iPhone and I was back on the land.

  2. To a greater or lesser extent, a company’s inherent values are a reflection of the values that the CEO embodies. An advertisement is nothing more than an externalisation of those values to its customers and its own employees.

    During Steve Jobs’ tenure as CEO, Apple embodied the values of boldness, execution of perfection, shooting for the moon and the stars, and slaying the dragons of bureaucracy in the shape of IBM and Microsoft. Which is why they ran advertisements that showed a sledgehammer borne by a woman smashing into the face of Big Brother droning on the screen in ‘1984’ and in ‘The Crazy Ones’ they showed monuments in personal achievement embodied in leaders like Gandhi (peaceful Indian nationalist), Amelia Earhart (first woman aviator), Thomas Edison (American inventor) and others. And the tagline was “Here’s to the Crazy Ones, because the people who think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

    In Cook’s era where mediocrity and blandness is stressed above all else, you get losers and loners as the embodiment of Apple values.

  3. Despite MDN’s continuing derision of this piece. Here is a different perspective from Maya W. On the Forbes web site.

    “Has it ever occurred to any of you that this ad speaks to a certain populations of kids/adults with autism? Rumor has it, this ad was created by someone on the autism spectrum. And just in case any of you don’t have an autistic kid out there, this ad is making its way through autism circles and autistic people and their parents are applauding this for describing their childhood. It is ACCURATE. It is HONEST. Not everyone feels comfortable being in the thick of things. Autistic people often choose to self-isolate, because they PREFER IT, technology or not. However, they are not automatons and in fact have loyalties to their families and the entire array of emotions that the “rest of us” experience–only, they don’t always have the language or comfort to express it. And this ad perfect captures not only an autistic person’s love and loyalty to his family, but also represents the gifts that an autistic person can offer, if people would just sit back and observe. PLEASE don’t write this video off as some sort of lesson to be heeded re: the insidious replacement of family interaction with technology. Of course, Apple has an interest in demonstrating the utility of their technology for happy, shiny things. But the reason this ad has become so powerful and emotionally moving for people in the autism world is because it illustrates the novel ways in which technology has allowed autistic people to participate in a world that is often overwhelming for them. Technology–for autistic people–can be the freedom and the communication that they have been seeking their entire lives. And this ad NAILS IT.”

    Tim Cook recently commented on the importance of these types of devices on individuals with Autism. Do you think that is the reason for this piece? Nah why would a big company do that?

    1. We have a special grandaughter who is on the Autism Spectrum. I can tell you that Apple Technology has made a positive impact in her life, especially in education and fine motor skill advancement. Apple should be commended for this touching ad.

  4. I just showed this ad to my wife. She’s couldn’t comment on it since she got so choked up. The ad works on people with normal human emotions.
    No where during the ad is the Apple brand flaunted. This could be a Nokia commercial for God’s sake! The fact that people over-analyze it and criticize it shows the power of the Apple logo during the final second of the ad. And you know, that just irritates the hell out of some people.

  5. What makes me sad is that this commercial received criticism at all. Yes, it’s sentimental. It’s Christmas after all.

    (Uh, wait – did I say, “Christmas?” How very politically incorrect of me. I most sincerely apologize for this terrible transgression against the sensitive nature of political correctness.)

    I guess this means that every holiday-themed TV commercial (including Budweiser clydesdales romping through a fresh blanket of winter snow) is fair game. One need only read the snide, sneering commentary by Gizmodo on the Apple commercial ( to see how cynical we have become.

    Yes, I get it. Apple is trying to sell iPhones for the holidays. But I wonder if much of the derision about the commercial has less to do with hating Apple and more to do with the general cynical nature of at least part of society in embracing the spirit of the holidays, of bringing family and loved ones together, of taking time to do something good, in this case, to create a video about love, the simple joys of life and togetherness.

    But I guess that is all so yesterday. It’s not cool to be sentimental, to have a heart and to love a bit more this time of year. After all, true hipsters like those at Gizmodo would never do that. It’s beneath them to have a soft side.

    Instead, a commercial like this serves as fodder for the cafe intellectuals and pundits to do what they do best: attack, criticize and belittle anything that smacks of kindness. (Ask me what value I think a pundit adds to this world. Please. I dare you.)

    It’s sad to think that I even felt compelled to write these words. Sad that a simple holiday-themed commercial with a warm and kind theme would attract such scorn. Have we as a society sunk to such a level that not even the thought of kindness, joy and love is beyond reproach? Sorry, but I must disagree. It has me shaking my head that the world has become so cynical.

    Season’s greetings, for what it’s worth.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Brian. Your thoughts express my feelings as well, in a fashion that I may not have so clearly expressed had I tried to compose and publish them myself here.
      …and, Brian, enjoy a Merry Christmas Season. May we all have the opportunity to feel the affection which the video/advert illustrated amongst the family members and neighbors in the clip.

  6. Gee. A video about a teen who takes ONE day (actually probably less than 24 hours) to make a video about a holiday gathering of his family which he is probably quite proud of.

    Really bashers? Really?

  7. Cynicism at Yuletide: a potent and poisonous weapon wielded indiscriminately, hurting most those who had been smiling happily about something only to be rudely told they were suckers.

    Look at yourself — it made you sad, bitter. Yet you have recovered something good from it after all, by putting your feelings into words — giving heart to many others who went mute from shock.

    And you have warned me away from a bilious article that might have made me ill. I owe you one!

  8. Isn’t the fact that there are two camps on this subject a great argument for HUDs or wearable computing products like Google Glass? Participate/pay attention at the same time as recording/computing.

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