Apple debuts ‘Chicken Fat’ television ad (with video)

Apple has debuted a new television advertisement now appearing on U.S. broadcast and cable networks.

Actually titled “Strength,” the ad features a dubious musical choice which makes copious references to “chicken fat.” Yes, it’s meant to be fun, we can manage to get the facile concept, but, among other issues (see another below), it comes off as incongruous with the imagery (not to mention with the target audience), as if the wrong music had been slapped on a decent-looking ad.

The “Chicken Fat” song in the ad was originally composed for John F. Kennedy’s physical fitness program and was performed by Robert Preston. Recordings of the song were sent to U.S. school officials to accompany the official US Physical Fitness program of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness back in the 1960s.

Anyone familiar with the song would be in their 50s or 60s now — or precisely the demographic alleged by Samsung’s ads showing Apple Retail Store lines full of moms and dads waiting for Apple iPhones. Great job subliminally reinforcing your competitor’s marketing message, Phil.

Clearly, Apple’s continues to feel and exhibit the loss of Steve Jobs when it comes to advertising.

Sigh.

Direct link to video here.

MacDailyNews Take: To put it diplomatically: Steve Jobs would have made better choices.

Less diplomatically: We have but one question, if Phil Schiller is worth millions of dollars as Apple VP of worldwide marketing, why can’t he recognize good TV ads vs. mediocre or worse?

To be a bit more blatant: Without Steve Jobs by their side – Eddy, we’re looking at you, too – some of these VPs at Apple don’t seem able to produce at levels previously attributed, perhaps wrongly, to them.

B.S.J., everything these guys touched turned to gold. A.S.J., well, they look a bit more mortal.

As we wrote in April: As Apple CEO, Steve Jobs focused on two things – product design and marketing. He was a genius at both. His talents cannot be replaced with one person. In fact, his talents in either discipline cannot be replaced by one person. Jony Ive and Phil Schiller without Jobs cannot be expected to perform as if Jobs was still working with them.

After witnessing Apple’s hit-and-miss post-Jobs advertising efforts, we await Apple’s next “new product category” with even more interest, and certainly more trepidation, than usual.

Related articles:
Apple shifts TV ads production in-house as rift widens with TBWA\Chiat\Day – June 5, 2014
Emails show Phil Schiller shocked over Apple’s ad agency suggestions – April 8, 2014
Apple’s advertising dilemma aired at $2 billion trial – April 4, 2014
Samsung again mocks Apple customers in iPhone 5 queue via new Galaxy S III ad (with video) – September 19, 2012
Apple pulls ‘Genius’ ad series from its website, YouTube channel – August 22, 2012
Samsung runs print ad attacking Apple’s iPhone 5 in major U.S. newspapers – September 16, 2012
Samsung Super Bowl ad mocks Apple iPhone users – February 6, 2012
Could the Apple-TBWA love affair, one of advertising’s most-storied matchups, survive without Jobs? – January 24, 2011

79 Comments

  1. Works for me. Definitely niche appeal, but a windup to coming health applications. My own experience using the iPhone with Withings apps has been incredibly good. Good to see Apple building on their “health” announcement well in advance.

  2. Give me a break. This propensity from bloggers to over-analize every little thing Apple does is just ridiculous. Now we’re supposed to get upset over songs in commercials? Why? Just because you say so? Sorry, but no. It’s just a stupid commercial; and until someone shows actual evidence that it’s having a measurable affect on Apple’s bottom line, it’s probably a good idea not to foment over it. Get over yourself and get on with life!

  3. The chicken fat ad is terrible!!!
    The worst ad I gave ever seen from Apple!
    Someone needs to be fired!
    Take that ad off the air immediately!
    Embarrassing, pathetic, tasteless, stupid,….

  4. As a foreigner (born while Kennedy was the American president), I never heard this song. I would guess that the large part of America (those not yet of retirement age) haven’t either.

    To me, the ad is clearly aimed at younger and physically active crowd (primarily), as well as to those who may be a bit older, but like the idea of being physically fit. It uses a silly retro song to tell the message how there are tons of apps and accessories that make healthy lifestyle easier to lead, organise, control and track.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with this ad. There were certainly a few with more emotionally powerful messages before, and this one isn’t competing with them. It is a slightly whimsical message that iPhone can do a lot of different things for you.

    1. As someone who was the target audience, I’m pleased that my parents kept me in a Saran™ Wrap bubble, protecting me from ever hearing this song. 😉

      The ad is one of those odd things I’m going to have to leave to the youth culture to judge. Great visuals, sort of applicable song, but an odd juxtaposition of styles and time periods. I can’t imagine it being an ‘Apple is gonna die!’ magnet. But it’s off in the realm of mediocrity somewhere, which is to say that at least it’s better than any Samsung shill I’ve ever seen.

  5. The main worry for me is that if the Ad campaigns are being run by committee and thus we get this rubbish how deep does that go in the rest of the company.

    Thankfully as usual the visual side is still excellent so it just needs someone to take hold of these things and give them focus. But at the moment these are much more camels than horses when they hit the screen.

  6. Memory is a wonderful thing, filtering out all the bad and remembering only the good. Apple was NEVER a company that didn’t have plenty of misses in all areas, including advertising. Sheesh.

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