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A new Apple ad is sparking backlash from viewers who say it hits the wrong note

·3 mins


When an ad goes viral #

When an ad goes viral, it’s usually for one of two reasons — it resonates so deeply with viewers that they can’t stop talking about it … or it makes people so upset they rush to social media to voice their outrage.

An Apple ad for its new iPad Pro seems to fall into the latter category. Posted on social media, the ad starts off as a sort of time capsule for human creativity.

There’s a metronome. A record player. Then the lights come on in a warehouse-like room, where you see those items and dozens of other creative tools. Another giant metal slab hangs ominously above it all.

As we hear the opening words of a 1972 single, the metal slab starts descending.

The items are in a giant hydraulic press, and within about 40 seconds everything will be gone — crushed under tons of force in an often dramatic fashion.

After the destruction, the hydraulic press starts rising again. The debris is now gone. In its place is a shiny, new iPad Pro. A voiceover says, ‘The most powerful iPad ever is also the thinnest.’

Videos of hydraulic presses demolishing everything from electronics to candy have become very popular in the past few years, in part due to the often mesmerizing nature of the way things collapse under pressure.

Apple is seemingly trying to capitalize on this trend while making a point about how its new iPad Pro is so powerful it can replace other means of creative expression.

But for many viewers, the ad doesn’t land the right note.

‘I’m not sure ‘wanton destruction of all the good and beautiful things is (sic) this world’ was really the vibe you were trying for,’ says one commenter.

‘I can’t relate to this video at all. It lacks any respect for creative equipment and mocks the creators,’ says another.

Others say that even though they understand what the ad is trying to say, it doesn’t resonate with them.

‘It’s a creative concept & good execution, but wow the ad made me surprising (sic) sad!’ says one user. ‘The song choice also seems to especially idolize tech over real life. Now I just want to avoid screens & spend more time enjoying the world offline.’

‘It should have been about capturing and honoring the essence of what’s so special about all of those things and experiences to bring them together in a device, not crushing the soul out of them,’ says another person.

Many people agreed with this sentiment, saying the ad would have been better in reverse.

This isn’t the first time an ad may not have landed the way a company expected — think the infamous Peloton holiday ad or the Kendall Jenner ad for Pepsi. But with fears that AI could replace workers in many industries — and the increasingly worrying research about how prolonged social media use affect us — many consumers are growing wary of technology.

‘This ad perfectly encapsulates the insight that people think technology is killing everything we ever found joy in. And then presents that as a good thing,’ says a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. ‘I haven’t seen such a visceral backlash to a spot in a long time.’