Apple debuts ‘Powerful’ new TV commercial for iPhone 5s (with video)

Apple has debuted a new long-form (:90 second) TV commercial, called “Powerful,” on U.S. broadcast and cable networks.

Set to the Pixies’ Gigantic, the new spot features people using their iPhone 5s devices in myriad ways from recording video and measuring heart rate to translating road signs and launching model rockets.

Th spot ends with the text “You’re more powerful than you think” and closes with “iPhone 5s” followed by the Apple logo ().

Direct link to video here.

74 Comments

          1. You sure do assume a lot of unsubstantiated things while calling other people trolls. Maybe lay off that a bit. You’ll find this whole thing called communication works easier that way.

            Personally, I like the ad quite a bit myself. I like it more than many of the recent iPhone ads since, say, the Music/Photos every day series back in 2013. With that said, I’m starting to tire of this ad style, and I don’t (personally) feel that it is accomplishing as much as it used to.

            I think Geoadm’s comment, besides being overly hyperbolic, is incorrect. But I can also see that his comment isn’t necessarily a commentary on the technological prowess of the iPhone in modern society. Therefore, based on the available information, your comment is needlessly dismissive and counter productive.

            1. Hate the ad.

              Reason: yet again Apple strays off into showing people too much and not enough of the device itself. That was the brilliance of Apple’s marketing before. It focused on the device to the point where a lot of ad spots didn’t even have people in them. And what happened was you walked away with a clear vision and focus regarding the device itself, the thing they’re trying to sell you.

              What do I now remember from this ad? A huge hulking muscle guy skipping rope and a black dude with a massive afro. The whole ad is hipster gay and annoying.

            2. “That was the brilliance of Apple’s marketing before. It focused on the device to the point where a lot of ad spots didn’t even have people in them.”

              I disagree. The most influential marketing campaign from Apple was and still is, Hello, I’m A Mac, which made fun of Microsoft and their following, USING PEOPLE as the role of the computer.

              Apple’s marketing strategy has been for the most part, focused on productivity and not how their products look.

              Showing a machine in action is far more critical than shining a spotlight on it, doncha think?

            3. No, wrong. They ran many ads for iPhone, iPod, etc. sans humans. This is a matter of public record how they made a product the “god” part of the ad. What you’re referring to was a running set of ads for PC switchers.

              We’re talking specifically about product ads.

            4. I have to say this ad is like some car commercials where they show you nice scenery and energy but the focus is not really on the product itself.. You’re kept guessing what the device is and why they’re using something so small for the task and finally they show that it’s an iPhone. I think it would have worked better if they did the ad instead with their upcoming larger screen iPhone. The ad for me does not come across as flattering to the brand. 😛

            5. You’re not the target market.

              Anytime I hear someone talk about a particular ad and how the message fails to connect with them, I’m left to think they’re not the intended audience.

              This ad may not speak to you! But I can assure you the intended audience gets the message loud and clear: the iPhone can do the work that once required a desktop.

              This ad will accomplish the work ahead of WWDC where I have no doubt Tim Cook will remind his audience how music is a part of Apple’s DNA.

            6. Safss…… this is an advanced and relevant ad targeting the right kind of futuristic direction and vision social creativity is going and how it appiies to the imagination of the user. It has the exact effect it is supposed to do. Well produced great soundtrack/mixing mixing. Clear and touching, full of the positive experience factor of the end user. The same place the internet and electronic communication developed from in the first place. You can have your snotty little techy-specky relationship with your “device” all you want but this isn’t about you … its about you connecting with others and expanding “everyone’s” level of perception. You missed the whole point. Great commercial great casting and editing. I wish I would have produced it myself.

      1. Geoadm isn’t insinuating by any means the 5S is not powerful. The comment is the ad wasn’t good. I love Apple (user since 1980) but also didn’t find the ad very good.

        1. As mentioned in a previous post, the ad IS about its power, and it does show some of its power. Compare that to infomercials that are purely staged from competetors and there is a difference.

          Different ads target different people and display different attributes of a product. I did not care for the song itself, but I didn’t judge it by the “which song” but by what it does. That ad was not about “entertainment.” IF the ad was not “good” by your standards, then what standard are you using to judge “good” by? Entertainment? Aesthetics? Power? Information? Technology?

          1. For me, I wasn’t drawn in and captivated by the shear awesomeness of the 5S. It might have been the bland song and the repeating lyrics it might be because I am not a musician thus didn’t relate to the message.

            1. “…it might be because I am not a musician…”

              That’s exactly what it is.

              You aren’t a musician, so how can you relate to the effort it takes to create a song, much less perceive the patience it takes to capture it onto tape, using a phone no less?

              The guitar effects alone kicks neck. Amplitube & Guitar Rig both have apps that accommodate every amp & pedal combination imaginable.

              The days of requiring studio time to lay down tracks is over. The fact that the grunt work is being processed by the iPhone is amazing for me.

              Sure it’s probably being done on Android too, but where’s their commercial? Oh that’s right, their commercials usually depict people dressed as secret agents plotting to take over the world or, people using two programs at the same time to send pictures along with their text, woooooooooo….

              Samsung sells the sizzle, not the beef.

          2. It’s a simple-minded ad, pandering to simple-minded people who don’t even realize how easily-led they are. Look! We’re hip and cool, and we use iPhones!!! Hmmmm… Maybe if I get an iPhone, that will make me cool – then I won’t have to spend all day posting comments on internet sites.

        2. I love Apple (user since 1980) but also didn’t find the ad very good.

          A number of people seem to disagree with your assessment of the ad, including me, and my take away is, you’ve probably been wrong about Apple’s marketing for the last 34 years.

      2. I’d agree with you if I was knocking the 5S, but an ad promoting 3rd party apps, mostly available on android as well, is not good advertising.
        The music is personal taste I guess but bad taste imo

    1. *Yawn*

      Why do people troll here? I don’t get it. This is the last place astroturfing against Apple is going to work. Go back to Apple Insider.

      Also, the “Likes” on that page far outweigh the “Dislikes” and it’s barely had any views at the time of this post.

  1. As is typical for Tim Cook, he has no taste. If only Steve were alive so he could kick Cook in the ass and send him out the door for so many botched hirings, firings, and a shitty IOS 7.x release. This ad sucks. It really shows how far down the shitter Apple has fallen since Steve’s passing. It no longer is a question of if Cook deserves to be fired, but more a matter of when.

  2. Great commercial….I love how Apple just shows people using their products. I don’t want to hear how much ram you use or how fast your processor is. I want to know what people are doing with the products and to inspire me to use mine for more than just playing flappy bird lol

    1. Appears it’s an app called “Word Lens” By Quest Visual. Wonder what they use on the back end.. Seems like similar functionality you get with the “Google Googles” app for free whereas you have to pay $4.99 for each language combination you want to visually translate using this app. Would be hilarious if they simply used the Google Goggles back end services. 😛

  3. This is one of the worst ads I have ever witnessed. The scenes are disjointed and not easy to follow and the band covering the Pixies is absolutely horrible. Does Apple know this song is about a 15-year-old black boy’s penis and a white married woman that wants to have sex with it? Somone at Apple f*cked up big time. Their head should be on a plate.

  4. I love Apple and all the products they have. I own almost all. I did not think that commercial was that great. Compared to other commercials out there it was just ok. I agree with a lot of people who think Apple needs to change their advertising firm. Or take a look at who is approving some of their commercials in the last couple years. They seem to be sub par for a company as great as Apple. Stop with the music all the time and tell us as your showing us how great their products are. Because, honestly, most people I talk to don’t like the music in their commercials anyway. And the commercials they have with music in them distract from the message.

    1. I thoroughly disagree, based on my own survey of people I know.

      Most people hate commercials that talk to them, because they feel like being talked at (or lectured, or being sold something). The most successful commercials of our age are the ones where there is NO voice-over narration (or, worse, on-screen straight-to-camera sell), but instead the message is told with emotional images underscored with an appropriate soundtrack. This particular one scores well on all those.

      When you tell a story using narration, you are bound to alienate someone by your tone, or quality of voice, or vocal inflection, or even regional accent (or lack thereof). Music is much less likely to offend, even if the style is not of a personal taste. The great marketers of today know this.

  5. Among the recent commercials for iOS devices (last 5 years), Apple had a few that were emotionally more powerful.

    However, that doesn’t make this one a bad commercial. It does exactly what it should: show ordinary people doing ordinary things in their ordinary lives. in all those scenes, iPhone is there to significantly enhance the level of joy in those lives: father and son making a little “godzilla” movie, bikers translating a foreign sign, a man taking his pulse during workout, a man controlling stage lights and many other situations.

    The band is clearly not meant to be great; the girl drummer is playing a bit imprecisely and sloppily, the vocalist is clearly a young adolescent amateur, but without any vocal training, all it shows is an ordinary ‘garage band’ using iPhones in music making.

    It is an excellent ad talking to the broad audience of people who simply don’t care about specs or feature lists, but about how their ordinary lives can be made more fun.

    Regardless of what some here thing, this will be a very successful ad.

    1. I think this ad is stronger as an argument FOR smartphones in general and it just happens to be an iPhone commercial.. With competitors having functions and capabilities both above and below the iPhone to me this ad is not that strong an ad for iPhones.

  6. I’ve criticized Apple before for their ads but I really like this ad. Good production values (great editing, build up of the music at the start, fast moving), shows the product in action.

    Samsung marketing efforts are cringe worthy jokes in comparison like the ‘bollywood’ launch of the S4:

    ——
    (I used to be in the ad business)

    1. those people voting me down, you seriously believe that the Samsung effort is better? lol.

      how much is samsung paying astro Turfers nowadays?

      and about Samsung marketing: Samsung in their patent trial spent a lot of time talking about their marketing. Samsung said they sold a lot devices NOT because of quality or features (they said the features they admit stealing from Apple were mediocre but they implemented them anyways instead of designing a better solution ! ) , they said they sold a lot because of the amount of advertising they did.

      i.e they’re saying : “We make and tolerate low quality products as we can B.S our idiot customers with bombs of marketing (targeted to their brain levels like the Bollywood extravaganza above) ”
      lol.

    2. I want to talk a bit about why I think the new Apple “powerful’ ad is good:

      1) the ad seems to be aimed more at young people this time. Young people today do NOT want to be ‘preached’ to but prefer to draw their own conclusions watching others. That’s why no preachy voice over.
      My friends grandkid made videos for youtube from 7 or 8 years of age. Many kids today are very techno savvy and don’t want to be ‘preached’ at.

      2) they didn’t use a ‘famous’ big name band as the ads message was that anyone can use the apple product and increase their ‘personal power’. The music etc at kept to (mostly) that ‘ good garage band’ level. The pacing was very good with the tempo build up.

      3) the ads admirably showcased the devices in a wide variety of situations. The editing was very quick but with X-box brain generation the info needs to be very dense (otherwise they would be bored)
      (Studies from universities etc have shown young people today due to their computer immersion have different brain wiring. Some can process more channels of info and faster into their brains than people not exposed to rapid media like them),

      4) ‘Group’ ads that depict a ‘desirable lifestyle’ have shown to be very effective today.

      etc
      —–
      (not to brag but to show (to those voting me down) that I know something about ads : I graduated top student in my University communications and arts class of 200. I was an art director in my twenties. Semi retired in my thirties to live on an island.)

    3. Haha on the S4 ad. What it had to do with an S4 is anyone’s guess. They (Samsung) have put together a string of some of the worst ads ever. Whatever effect they intend in each, almost invariably fails and makes them look like doofuses.

    4. That was a funny ad.. The thing is ‘was it popular/successful in its intended market?’ I can see how it may have bombed outside India. 😀 Perhaps you could have shown a link for Samsung advertising in the same intended market for comparison.

      1. I actually sometimes watch bollywood movies.

        The thing is whether it’s for a local audience or not, Samsung marketing effort ‘talks down’ to Indians (and a lot of them ARE sophisticated. I knew a bunch of fine Indians when I was living in Asia for years). Samsung seems to be saying “our target audience is dumb and the can only understand crass direct in your face (singing about features) marketing efforts like this”.

        Here’s how APPLE would have done A Bollywood Ad:
        The ad would show a cool looking film crew working on a Bollywood Epic, the director would be commanding the frenetic activity with an iPad, the crew would be coordinating the lighting, booms, tracking shots with iPads and iPhones , with the dance troupe doing a great massive (non cheesy) Bollywood number in the background and later the crew would be editing it on Macs. Snappy editing, a good music soundtrack would make it really cool. Ranveer Sigh USING the phone to do something (like phoning his friend from the film’s debut where it gets a standing ovation ) would be better than him singing about the phone’s features …
        (I would get a bunch of ‘name’ actors for cameos in the background, a few seconds each, and the ad audience at home can try to pick them out – an ad like that might go viral “who can name all the actors in the Apple ad?”. A few seconds screen time, a few hours shooting per actor won’t cost too much)

        That’s how you make a “Bollywoood” ad for phones for the locals without insulting their intelligence…

        (I thought about the above example in two minutes. A highly paid Ad team could flesh out a much better similar concept but I think I’ve put my idea across… )

        1. You’ve made some of the most awesome comments I’ve seen on these boards in ages… Like, I feel like I’ve learnt something about advertising by reading these, and it just ‘makes sense’…

          …but saying ‘not to brag’? 😉

          Come on… You’re totally showing off – and it’s cool!!

          I wish I could come up with an advertising idea like that in 2 minutes almost as much as I wish I could retire to live on an island! ;-D

  7. If that is so true as you say why don’t most commercials use that technique. Because it does not work a majority of the time. You need commercials that inform people without being distracted by horrible music. Even a funny one would do better than this sort of ad that blasts music in your face so you get caught up in that and don’t see all that is happening in the ad. If it was so wonderful everyone would be doing it. You do alienate a lot of watchers if they don’t care for the horrible music. It’s been proven. I also have a friend in the commercial business and says music usually only works as a background. I have showed this commercial to about 15 people now and most commented on the awful music. So that shows you what they got out of it. Horrible sounding music, not wow look what Apple products can do. Don’t believe me. Try the same thing on your own friends.

    1. On the individual level, personal tastes may influence how various commercials are perceived. In general, though you are quite wrong. Music, when used well, is almost ALWAYS more successful in delivering the desired emotional reaction than spoken word. With he exception of the humorous “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” campaign, Apple advertising has always been about emotional response. And the success of their marketing has actually improved (there is data out there to corroborate this) since their TV advertising shifted towards less spoken word.

      Let us not forget; “I’m a Mac – I’m a PC” campaign annoyed great many people; the dancing silhouette iPod commercials — not nearly as many, and it was extremely successful.

      1. If I remember correctly, even the ‘I’m a Mac’ series concluded with one where PC (John Hodgman) sang a country western song, complete with guitar, cowboy hat, and baying hound.

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