Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the current work they think is the best out in the ad world – the ads and campaigns they believe are making a difference.
Apple’s revitalizing 2018 short-film for HomePod will no doubt ride top of ‘best ad’ lists for years to come. The thoughtfully-choreographed, organically-performed piece does more than depict the relationship between FKA Twigs and her HomePod, Spike Jonze’s hands-on method, physically-captured piece allows Apple to personify its brands’ intangibles. This connection of the real (your home) with the unreal (the emotion of letting go) feels energetically reminiscent of Apple’s 2003-2008 iPod and iTunes advertising, allowing the brand’s equitable communication from the past to come forward in a way that feels relevant today.
Beyond the powerful storytelling in ‘Welcome Home’, Apple shows us it has the confidence required from brands today to allow creative influencers to influence its brand aesthetic and unleash a different mood, palette and tone that one could argue is ‘off brand’. We’ve all come to associate Apple with its shockingly wide and white background, pops of color in its foreground and happy people expressing their creative freedoms throughout. Jonze certainly gives this to us, but not without first framing the state of those that lack this creative freedom in their lives.
At a seemingly dreary end to the day, our muse, found mid-commute with no associative Apple products to be seen, comes into her home and collapses. As she sits on the sofa, a feeling we all recognize washes over her: the day is done, what did I achieve, where did I fail and how can I let go? We’re introduced to the HomePod in a dull and generic setting first, before swiftly transitioning to the energy we’ve come to expect from Apple. We see her push past these day-doubting thoughts and into a mind space of new dimension, exploring her home and herself through a combination of music, an expansive set of a diverse palette and exaggerated movements of the body inspired by movements normally performed by screen and finger, all unleashed by the immersive quality of music and Apple’s ability to deliver such.
The ad’s power comes in the acknowledgement of how technology consumption has evolved: the HomePod isn’t at the forefront of the story but rather a supporting character, the scene is understated, until it’s not, and you hardly realize you’re watching an Apple campaign until the very end. This piece is not about the Apple aesthetic, the bells and whistles of the latest gadgetry, but rather connection that is purely emotional and that immersive experience, rather than another “thing”, is at the heart of the Apple product promise.
Christopher Skinner is principal and founder of School House, a creative branding agency based in NYC.
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