Apple's Here's To The Crazy Ones, er Behind The Mac without voice over, is back for International Women's Day. That day is actually on March 8th, but I guess Apple felt that the world couldn't wait till then to see another black and white slide show of very famous people staring at their computers.
Apple's YouTube description gives a helpful list of everyone featured in the ad. Among Malala Yousafzai, Diane von Furstenberg and feminist icon Gloria Steinem are people like...Marie Kondo, Lady Gaga, late night talk show host Lilly Singh, who I have to confess, I'd never heard of until now.
The song is by (who else?) Beyoncé. "Flawless" Feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
The inherent flaw in this entire campaign is the same as with like Crazy Ones: Apple has little if anything to do with the success of the people who use their product. I'm sure Malala Yousafzai is happy to be in the spot and raise awareness for her work and of course take money to be in the spot. But it's kind of insulting to claim what she endured is somehow thanks to Mac.
Crazy Ones purely celebrated the people who make a difference, and the implication was "We're just like them." Arrogant? Sure, but Apple's always been an arrogant brand.
Behind The Mac however, shoulders its way into the cultural moment. The implication is at best cringe-worthy, "We're relevant, too!" or at worst, implying that somehow these cultural icons owe them. You wouldn’t be here without us."
It's really hard to say. But that's what happens when there’s no voice over. A picture is worth thousand words, none of them you can control.
In the past few years, Apple's gone from touting the product benefits to inserting itself into important moments in culture in a self-serving manner. It's kind of like saying "We're down the struggle, whatever struggle there is this month."
It's all the more curious then that Apple has gone from assuming you are smart enough to know who Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Einstein and Bob Dylan are to feeling the need to tell us who everyone is in the spot.
By the way, the spot is also being localized because people in different countries might not care about a on-the-rise Grammy nominee who was one of five other writers on an Ariana Grande song. (Does it really take that many people to write an Ariana Grande song?)
What bothers me about this spot is that it doesn't really champion women so much as use them as window dressing behind expensive hardware. And the worst part is that as a creative, I just know they had to go through a few dozen other people before they found a crop who the CMO and CCO felt "resonated," let along finding people who would agree to be in the spot. It’s not that you are championing women, so much as championing certain women.
At the end of the day, this spot, like the entire Behind The Mac campaign, is just a product shot with borrowed interest, and it's not very interesting. It's opportunistic and oddly shallow.
Ad agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab