Misunderstood: Apple thinks different for Christmas

“There’s a comforting predictability to the holidays. Decorations go up and the shopping countdown begins. There’s a predictability to the holiday ads as well — most of which scream big sales and hot products,” Ken Segall writes for Observatory. “What we don’t expect to see is an advertiser taking a risk. Which is why I find Apple’s 2013 holiday spot so interesting.”

“Ever see a company spend nearly half of its holiday commercial depicting the downside of its own product?” Segall asks. “Apple has done just that — painting the picture of a kid seemingly more interested in the virtual world of his iPhone than the family around him.”

“The twist, of course, is that this kid is different. Far from withdrawn, he’s actually inspired. He’s using technology to give the family a gift from the heart — one that will be treasured for years to come,” Segall writes. “It’s a clever concept. The spot relies on our own stereotypes to lead us to an incorrect assumption, setting the stage for the second half of the spot to pull our heartstrings so effectively.”

There are tens of millions of people who will stop in their tracks at this commercial and wipe a tear from their eye. As a result, they will feel slightly more attached to Apple, which is the marketing purpose of this spot,” Segall writes. “Far from depressing, this ad is wonderfully optimistic. In the most human terms, it says that the right technology can bring people closer together. It’s a perfect thought for the holidays… Once again, Apple demonstrates it’s a different kind of technology company. Most talk about what goes into their phones — Apple shows what we can get out of them.”

Read more in the full article – recommended – here.

Related articles:
Love it or hate it, Apple’s new Christmas spot normalizes the glow – December 18, 2013
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. I originally agreed with MDN that everyone has
    become so involved with recording the moment
    that we fail to enjoy the moment. I still agree.
    And have personally been guilty myself. But having
    seen this commercial air several times I also believe
    that Apple has shown that people are trying to do
    something positive by recording everything. There is
    no way of going back to pre smartphone or digital
    camera days but perhaps going forward people will
    try to find a balance of the two. It’s so nice to see the
    quality of recording the moment we use now and will be able
    to enjoy down the road. Hopefully we will be part of and live the
    important events allowing our brain to recall those times
    through our memories. It’s will be great to be able to look back
    some day at photos and video. But we should never miss out
    in the feeling of really being there. If possible, have someone
    not as close to the event record everything. Then it’s a win all
    the way around.

    1. I don’t mean to take anything away from your comment, but I have to respond to the closing thought. As the amateur photographer in my family and circle of friends, I believe that I can and do provide them with photos, and thereby memories, that are more personal and special than what could be produced by someone more detached (as in a hired professional). I can tell you without a shred of doubt that the events which I’ve taken the time to photograph over the years are the ones which are written more clearly and poignantly into my own memory. I think it depends to a large degree who is behind the lens, whether the technology is a distraction from the moment, or a way of focusing it. For me, it’s the latter. If I look back with any regrets, they are for the times when I’ve forgotten my camera. I use the lens to participate in the very best way that I can. For me, it opens conversations which would otherwise be difficult for me to start. Now, I have my iPhone with me always, and it captures many things that my relatively cumbersome SLR could not. THAT’S a win win.

  2. This commercial is “Think Different – 2013″…

    It’s brilliant in the way it is a commercial for a product and a social commentary about how we perceive those who are “different”.

  3. “Misunderstood” is one of the most beautiful, most heartwarming commercials I’ve ever seen. It should be right up there with the Coca-Cola Polar Bears and that Folgers “Coming Home” ad. An instant holiday classic.

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