Apple Apologizes For iPad Pro Commercial That Outraged Creatives

Posted by

On Tuesday, Apple introduced its new M4-powered iPad Pro, touted as the tech company’s thinnest product ever. To illustrate that point, Apple premiered an ad called “Crush!” in which a range of products including musical instruments, buckets of paint, cameras, a record player, and an old arcade game console were smashed by a hydraulic press. The press lifted up to reveal only an ultra-thin iPad Pro, which theoretically contains the power of all those items, a point underlined by the use of Sonny & Cher’s “All I Ever Need Is You” in the soundtrack. Response to the ad was intensely negative, especially from creatives, who viewed it as disrespectful to the tools of the trade. It was not unlike the recent backlash to smashing guitars, except this time tinged with anxiety about the creeping role of AI and other factors threatening creatives’ livelihoods.

Artist and Apple stockholder Krista Ball told the CBC she had a “visceral, gross reaction” to the ad, “almost the same way as you feel when you see a political ad that’s really gross.” She continued, “The iPad does not replace the tools of pen and paper. Apple has always had this reputation of trying to work with art, to expand art, so to literally destroy art to say ‘we’re better,’ that is not appealing to artists.” In response to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s tweet revealing the ad, actor Hugh Grant wrote, “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.” His fellow actor Justine Bateman wrote to Cook, “Truly, what is wrong with you?” The Weather Station’s Tamara Lindeman wrote, “Unreal. They just decided to dramatize what tech has done to art and human life and turn that into a … commercial? A terrifying commercial? For a thing we’re supposed to want?”

The replies to Cook’s tweet are filled with negative messages from blue-check users who, per stereotype, would normally be excitedly cheering corporate tech barons. It’s just disgust and disbelief all the way down. So inevitably, Apple has apologized and scrapped its plans to air the ad on TV.

In a statement to Ad Age Thursday, Tor Myhren, Apple’s VP of marketing communications, wrote, “Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it’s incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world. Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad. We missed the mark with this video, and we’re sorry.”

Below, you can see the ad, as well as some of the negative response and a parody from last night’s Colbert in which your beloved friends and family are flattened.