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What's Wrong With Apple's TV Ads Lately? – Forbes

Apple is out with two new television ads that aim to show people what they can do with its iPad and iPad mini tablets. Named “Alive” and “Together,” they feature quick-cut examples of cool visual apps, punctuated by rapid-fire printed words almost too fast to make out individually and three shouted words like, you know, “alive” and “together.” Also “deep,” “bright,” “loud,” and “wild”–or Wilde, as a clunky visual pun then shows an Oscar Wilde book.

My first reaction: Meh.

My second reaction on subsequent viewings: I don’t want to see these anymore. And I especially don’t want to hear these anymore.

Oh, they’re not all that bad. They’re kind of catchy, and they’re certainly an improvement over those abominations during the Olympics with the annoying genius dude, which were quickly killed.

And look, I know Apple can’t coast on Peter Coyote’s voice forever. But even if these ads are a big improvement over those Olympics ads, they still feel a little too frantic, maybe even with a slight whiff of desperation. And why? Apple doesn’t need to be frantic, and it’s certainly anything but desperate.

Apple’s best ads–and I don’t really include that also-a-little-desperate 1984 ad–have always exuded calm. They give potential buyers the feeling that they’re joining a club of people who think a little different, who are a little smarter than the rest of the consumer masses, and there’s no need to crow about it. (I’m talking about the ads, not the Apple fanboyz who troll blogs showing the least bit of criticism of their corporate hero.)

Meanwhile, Google–Google!–seems to have assumed Apple’s mantle as creator of some of the most successful or at least engaging TV ads around. One big reason: Google’s ads tell a story, sometimes a really heartwarming one. They feel more like Apple ads than Apple ads these days.

Now, I concede that I could be completely wrong here. Judging from comments on some other blogs, more than a few people seem to like them, though more seem underwhelmed. Honestly, I don’t know if anyone really knows in advance that a television advertisement will be successful or not. Who knows? These ads could really juice iPad sales for all I know.

But they still strike me as just… ordinary.

And Apple products aren’t supposed to be ordinary. Its ads sure shouldn’t be.

Apple might do well to get back to its advertising roots. “Early ads were all about differentiation,” early Apple adman Bill Cleary, now senior partner at Cleary & Partners, told me last year. Later ads, he said, were “all about making products human. Apple needs to go back and understand why they’re successful.”

The new ads emphasize neither point. Maybe this is the new Apple, post-Steve Jobs, and needs to brand itself a little differently. But take a look and judge for yourself:

What’s Wrong With Apple’s TV Ads Lately? – Forbes
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