I've purposefully not consulted the blogosphere or Twittersphere to give myself the space to consider Apple's new brand campaign, titled "Designed by Apple in California."
It is an interesting conundrum, because some aspects of the ad are solid, but after giving it a little time to sink in, I still hew to my initial visceral dislike and disappointment upon seeing it.
First, there is the "Designed by Apple in California," headline — or more accurately the "bottom line," as it is always located at the bottom of a long, poetic string of new agey blurbs, and is meant to encapsulate all that Apple represents. And in the TV ads, the voiceover issues the treacly words, "This is our signature, and it means everything." The choice of " in California" in "Designed by Apple in California," I find particularly affected. California has pretty well lost its lustre as the golden land and this just seems a little bit precious to me. If this notion is meant to be political, suggesting more jobs for California, it just further dilutes the impact by being oblique.
My levels of disappointment begin with the fact that the most famous disruptive innovation company in the world needs the focus of their first post-Steve Jobs corporate advertising campaign to revolve around a tagline that takes a defensive posture about making products in the U.S.
That the company that brought us "Think Different," is now presenting themselves as a soft touch lifestyle company featuring an asexual person whose face you can't see, accompanied by a lot of whispery, overly sincere language is to say the least, a wet blanket.
I think that the focus on values in and of itself is a good thing, but these values, like "Every idea we touch, enhances each life it touches" or "Who will this help, Will it make life better? Does it deserve to exist? If you are busy making everything, then you are not perfecting anything," are more like a designer's stream of consciousness or an entreaty to the impatient consumer to be patient because perfection is an art that takes time. It borders on feeling apologetic, if not self-aggrandizing.
What happened to visionary, iconoclastic values — of pushing hard to break barriers and change our world for the better — which still spoke to a higher purpose? What happend to creativity that showed rather than telled? This is the ad campaign I'd expect from a "mature" company. Maybe it is the new, mature Apple moving out from the long, Jobsian shadow. While I can understand that and the "need" for that, I can't help but being let down.
What do you think?