‘Designed by Apple’ ads fail to impress viewers

By , Jun 27, 2013

Apple ad (Designed by Apple in California 001)

Apple’s new mission-statement ad campaign is epitomized in a television commercial which highlights Apple’s California roots and celebrates the firm’s famous ‘Designed by Apple in California’ tagline etched on the back of its products. It’s unfortunately not testing very well with viewers.

Ad effectiveness firm Ace Metrix polled at least 500 television viewers who gave the latest commercial a score of 489 on its scale. That’s below an industry average of 542 and the lowest score of more than two dozen Apple TV ads in the past year.

By comparison, Apple’s past ads often topped 700, so the new campaign isn’t as effective as Apple’s ad shop TBWA/Worldwide thought it would be…

UPDATE: take a wild guess who Ace Metrix’s client is. That’s right, Samsung. Of course Bloomberg “forgot” to mention that “tiny” little detail. As noted by Silicon Beat, this one has conflict of interest written all over it.  Certainly there are plenty of reasons to question the objectivity of a company which sells to its clients whose products it rates a service to help them improve their ratings.

In case you haven’t seen the ad in question, here it is.

Making matters worse, that ad especially ranked poorly with male viewers, particularly those over 21 years old.

Viewers took issue with music, which they thought was “sad” and said the spot was too long. Be that as it may, Apple is extending the campaign to print with a two-page ad in a newspaper spotted earlier this week.

By comparison, a recent Galaxy S4 commercial that demos features like the ability to answer a call without touching the screen scored a 757 by that same measure.

Since May, Samsung has had eight ads that scored an average of over 600, according to Ace Metrix.

It’s believed Apple in the absence of major new product launches has intentionally moved from product-focused ads to such mission-statement commercials that tout its brand, quality of the products and the innovation DNA.

Peter Burrows, reporting for Bloomberg Businessweek quotes Edward Boches, a professor of advertising at Boston University:

Apple was never a company that bragged about itself. In a manifesto ad, it’s hard not to come across as self indulgent. And even though it suggests the wonderful things Apple products can do, the ad lacks joy.

“Is this a subtle way of saying we’re not a Korean company? That’s not the way a leader like Apple should talk,” said Boches, a self-proclaimed “huge fan” of Apple.

According to people with knowledge of the matter, Apple with the new ads wanted to “energize its customers and slow market share gains” by Samsung while it readies new versions of the iPhone and iPad.

As a prelude to the ‘Designed by Apple’ thing, Apple aired a pair of iPhone commercials which don’t show any product features. Instead, the commercials show heartwarming images of people using their iPhones to listen to music and take pictures.

According to Ace Metrix, these ads scored 560 and 537, respectively, low scores by both Apple’s and industry’s standards. This could be a sign of bigger issues following Steve Jobs’s passing on October 5, 2011.

Previously, Apple briefly adopted a mission-statement approach to iPad advertising in order to counter the notion floated by competition that its tablet is underpowered.

Apple’s advertising is mostly the work of global ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Jobs and TBWA chief Lee Clow weren’t just personal friends, the two men had been collaborating on Apple’s memorable ad campaigns for three decades. Part of the magic was the TBWA/Media Arts Lab, also known as the ‘Apple ad factory’.

Apple ad - Joke (iPhone 4S, Siri, John Malkovich launghing) 002
Siri ad starring John Malkowich scored 559 on Ace Metrix’s 900-point scale.

Regular employees aren’t allowed into the building, which is separate from the main TBWA/Chiat/Day headquarters. Jobs, who knew marketing like no other executive, was famous for his hands-on approach to advertising which ensured nothing could get aired without his signing off on it.

Apple-Mac-Genius-TV-Ad
The Genius ads were short-lived and largely deemed a flop so Apple pulled them.

Since Jobs’s death, marketing meetings run by Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing have resulted in “less clarity about what the company wants its ads to say,” people familiar with Apple’s advertising recently told Bloomberg.

“Once Jobs had made a decision, no one at Media Arts Lab argued for long,” the article has it. “Now, its creative staff becomes frustrated more often when Schiller shoots down ideas”.

Be that as it may, Apple’s Mini-Me, as a BusinessWeek profile called Schiller, is probably aware that he’ll take his fair share of blame if Apple’s ads aren’t effective. And with a $1 billion global advertising budget, Schiller now has the daunting task of keeping Apple cool.

But with failures like Siri celeb ads and those awful Apple Store ‘Genius’ ad series, Schiller better start listening to TBWA geniuses intently before these ads tarnish the Apple brand.

I happen to like the ‘Designed by Apple’ ad series.

If the basic premise behind these ads was to target die-hard Apple fans rather than the broad market, they’re much more successful than the numbers would have you believe.

What’s your take?

Do you like the new campaign?

Or, does it come across as a forced attempt to remain relevant?

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  • mehrab

    Hah. Those are people who dont get apple all they like is the gimmicks samsungs has in their devices thats how they get impressed. Since i understand apple this ad has truly touched me.

    • Jake

      This

    • Dominik Odobašić

      You “understand” Apple? Why are you talking as if you two are in a romantic relationship? What is it there to understand about a greedy corporation who only wants your money?

      • mehrab

        Thats not apple. Sure they sue people/companies. Oh btw just so you know the web os multitasking was licensed by apple before wwdc and apple made sure that it was a company that was dead and yeah web os is dead and gone. does the consumer care? Their stocks are down? Do consumers care? No. At the end of it all its about user experience and most people feel very emotional towards the user expirience apple delivers. Iphine users are different then anddoid users they feel more emotional towRds there device Sure android is great. Go fuck android. We dont really give a shit. I have used the most flagshhips androids and i never had that feeling apple gives its like that iphone just makes your life revolve towards it your using it all the time its never letting you down.

      • Kurt

        Too…many…words….

      • Arthur Geron

        Steve Jobs created his own computers since start, he sold his first car to be able to start a company, and he has always been strict about their products quality, if he cared only about money, it wouldn`t be what it is today, Apple is designed not to have the Last Technology ever, but to be organized, simple and deliver a lot of features at the same time, feeting the user`s needs, and that`s why Apple doesn`t have the Latest Quad Core processors or shit, but it has the biggest share of mobile market, and at the same time, the less cases of viruses and attacks to iOS, etc.

        Apple is a part of Steve Jobs way of life, and I`d like to see you tell me what I said wrong here, without making dumb statements like “fanboy” or “you sound like you wanna make out with your iDevices”..

      • Gorgonphone

        Apple is great but without steve they wont stay that way for long

      • Francisco Farias

        Why?,
        Steve DNA is still in the company, the people who work with him is still in the company, but Tim is making big changes in the company, and he will still follow Steve vision.

      • Ernie Marin

        yeah, a greedy company, thanks goodness Samsung gives all their money away to starving families worldwide.

      • Dominik Odobašić

        Go put words into someone else’s mouth.

    • Kurt

      This ad was like going to a funeral. You get Apple? Pathetic fanboy you are. What happened to not worshiping a for profit company?

      • mehrab

        This ad touched a lot of people if you were not touched. Apple does not really care neither do i? Im a fanboy of good hardware and software blending together to give you a rich experience which is what apples all about. Apple made me feel that i mean like they dont know i exist but im still defending them why cos i only have an iphone 5 well no i have android flagships which i used/use so um yeah im a pathetic “apple fanboy” sure. What are you? Get a life your just a pathetic loser calling other people on the internet “pathetic” and your married too lol dont you have anything else to do like seriously?

      • Kurt

        “…dont you have anything else to do like seriously?”

        Like, OMG! SERIOUSLY! Like, I guess I should worship APPLE cuz like seriously Steve Jobs is my god!

      • mehrab

        YeH ikr every fanboy considers him a god right? He was the michael jackson of the techworld . people are thankful to him for the devices he made? Sure lets say he didnt make it first or didnt make it at all they are just thankful to him that an iphone ipod ipad and mac existed. When someone has pure haters that means that person was a success e.g lol im not saying im a fan or something but look at justin bieber his the most popular and most awarded singer in the world atm

      • Kurt

        Justin Bieber is the best! Actually he’s not famous here so I’m lucky to not know his music. Except his one song that has some exceptional writing, “I’m like baby, baby, baby, oh…” That’s deep ;)

      • Arthur Geron

        Arguing with a dumb android fanboy (I know this is a pleonasm) is like playing chess with a drunk monkey, it will loose, hit the board, get on top of it, shit all over it, and run around screaming “VICTORY IS MINE”.

        This is merely a exagerated example, I know monkeys don`t talk and shit, but you get it..

      • Francisco Farias

        @mehrab you got a solid point.

      • Singed

        How can such an ad “touch” a lot of people? I find it hard to believe that such a failed attempt to be overly serious and meaningful can move a person.
        Also, rereading your comment again makes me realize that Darwin’s theory was incredibly flawed. Such a mentally defected individual should not be allowed to reproduce.

      • mehrab

        Listen bro people who own iphones will understand thisad watch youtube comments on this ad and you”ll see. Oh and Stop tryna be dumb

      • Arthur Geron

        Yeah, because Companies should make great devices, also please your ass not making A mistake when making a AD an also at the sime time not DARE to want to earn any money from their devices!! : 0

      • Kurt

        Sorry bro, I didn’t quite understand your dribble.

      • Arthur Geron

        What I meant was how people choose idiotic subjects to discuss about. It`s obviously stupid to start arguing on someone`s personal feelings, tastes and thoughts about a company. If you fell cold about some movie endings and other people doesn`t, why can`t it be the same over some commercials ? It`s so stupid of you to think people should fell and be the way you want..
        I made my previous comment pointing out that you called Apple a “For Profit Company”, like if any company in the world can grow up to that point and survive without making money, but no, you must blame it for that and act like that`s the main point of it.

    • Austin Bennett

      In an Advertisement we have to see them connect well with others and be used in exciting fashions.. Apple is failing to get the eye-opener that they deserve, but they are showing off how it connects well with people. Not as many features, but puts smiles on people’s faces because we don’t need features we need a phone that relaxes the user.

      • mehrab

        We need a phone which has good hardware and software which blends you to give you the best overall experience that’s apple for you right there

      • Austin Bennett

        They know that, they just don’t know how to advertise that.

  • Johnathan Jennings

    I went to watch the Signature Ad to see what I thought of it.. And at the end I had realized that I got bored and stopped paying attention lol. It’s too boring.

    • Kurt

      Suited more for a funeral. For me it was as corny as the one about taking pictures and the one about being able to play music haha. I don’t remember the genius ad, I know I saw it with the kid on the airplane.

      I prefer their fast past ads.

  • Taf Khan

    Shouldn’t some Samesung products also read “Designed By Apple in California”.

    • Dominik Odobašić

      No, because they were designed by Samsung in Korea!

    • Chindavon

      Should be “Cloned by Samsung in Korea”

  • Boss

    Don’t help when it’s Made in China

    • Taf Khan

      My iPhone does state Assembled in China. Err… A sales pitch for the Chinese market perhaps.

      • Falk M.

        No, a legally required declaration. :)

      • Taf Khan

        What I meant was maybe apple could do the same ad in china… U know with like Chinese actors n all that but with Assembled in China. Haha

      • Falk M.

        Except they aren’t really setting themselves apart.

        There are MANY competitors NOT designing in the US or Cali to be more specific, but everyone at least gets some of their parts from China, most even produce there.
        It’d not have the same effect I guess. :/

    • mehrab

      Designed by apple in cali
      Manufactured in china

    • batongxue

      You are ignorant….
      Without China, you would have no shite!

      • Guest

        Sounds like you misinterpreted his comment…he’s saying that the signature ad doesn’t help when the product is built in China.

    • Arthur Geron

      And Samsung from Korea so whats the problem? Now samsung fanboys are being racist instead of just being dumb..

    • Arthur Geron

      China, Korea, a lot of company has it`s connections to countries in that area of the world, but of course some stupid people can`t help themselves from being racist, I bet no company cares about pleasing stupid people`s asses by not simply having any connection to any eastern countries.

    • Arthur Geron

      China has a growing number of industries, being assembled in a place known by being the center of the world`s shipped goods shouldn`t be considered anything bad.

  • CooperB

    Since the marketing department is on a roll here’s a great idea, let them design the icons for the new iOS release. They seem to know what the public wants.

    • EpicFacepalm

      The fact is, actually iOS icons are designed by the marketing team Johny Ive said. So I think marketing team made a fail here…

      • CooperB

        Yeah I know, I was being sarcastic!

    • EpicFacepalm

      The fact is, the new iOS icons were designed by the marketing team already, Johny Ive said.

      • Kurt

        He was joking

  • Boss

    The thing is Apple can only boost about having the most apps as most other smart phones have better specs

    • Taf Khan

      Better spec on Android = Faster Crash!

      Not much point having a nice spec phone if you can’t get updates and the phone OS is already out of date when you purchase. Tut tut

      • Taf Khan

        Taf why do ppl go on so much about the spec these days… It’s the user experience that counts. The useful application available and the reliability and overall performance. A higher spec phone is often never utilised to its true potential as it is replaced by another flagship model.

      • Boss

        HTC One Google Edition is FAST

      • Kurt

        But it’s made of aluminum. Scratches easy. Maybe it doesn’t get bent like the iPhone 5 but for me, I would rather have glass or plastic than aluminum. I love the UI on the HTC One. Just too small for my taste. Give me a 5.5 incher

      • Dominik Odobašić

        Have you used an Android device for a prolonged period of time to reach that conclusion? No. Does it make sense for hundreds of billions of people to continue purchasing devices that crash? No. Are you aware of the fact that this blog(!) reported how Android applications crash LESS than those on iOS? No.

        So please, please tell me which ass did you pull that statement out of?

      • Taf Khan

        Yes… I have. I owned a HTC One X as a second phone. Nice in many ways but apps often crashed. I guess it can’t be easy to optimise apps for such a varied range of device and operating system versions. I did also purchase the new HTC One for the wife, to be honest it’s pretty good so far. But Android has to many issues for most ppl as they are usig Ginger Bread.

      • Rag

        Apps on my iPhone 4S crashed more than apps having been crashing on my Galaxy S4 (which rarely happens).

      • Taf Khan

        To answer your question…the ass of the 67% of android users who are stuck on a os released in 2010 or earlier.

      • Kurt

        Do they take in account the custom roms? Just curious as I don’t know the answer.

      • Taf Khan

        Not sure to be honest Kurt. The stats I recall were from the WWDC event.

      • Kurt

        Probably doesn’t help much if it’s not included as most people don’t care about security and/or care about their phones. I’m glad there are custom roms with Touchwiz as I will be able to keep upgrading and keep using the s-pen when I get the Note 3. I wish we could upgrade iOS. My iPad is stuck on 5.x.x as its an original. Can’t wait to upgrade to retina with the iPad 5 at 12 inches ;)

      • Taf Khan

        I’ve not seen anything about a 12inch screen on any ipad?

      • Kurt

        Actually 12.9″

        http://www.idownloadblog DOT com/2013/05/28/ipad-maxi/

        Since I don’t bring my iPad out of the house, I would rather have a larger iPad. iPad mini is perfect for lugging around the city but iPad is best at home. So I’ll take something larger in a heartbeat. Though I doubt it will happen :(

    • Kurt

      And they can boost that they can play mp3′s on their iphone. That commercial was fitting for 2007 and prior, but 2013? haha

      • mehrab

        They are a experience based company i can listen to music on any device. Apple gives you a better overall experience

      • Kurt

        Really, No.

      • mehrab

        You dont get it fine no one askd you to

    • mehrab

      Specs would have means a lot if it was Android vs android but its crap when its android vs ios as ios devices are still faster smoother delivers a better experience then the gs4 the iphone 5 is much more faster (see youtube vids comparing speed between the two) i”ll reply back more to whatever you have to say about why specs would make the ohone win agaisnt an iphone

      • Kurt

        Note 2 which is OLDER than iphone 5 is faster. you watch some funny video clips to think iPhone 5 is faster than S4.

        Btw, how is your scratched, chipped, dented, bent iPhone 5? Oh what? Your iphone 5 is perfect? Yeah, Pinocchio, I believe you.

      • mehrab

        LOL I CANT STOP LAUGHING ANYMORE THE NOTE 2 is slower then the gs4 but the note 2 is a bit more refined and smoother not “faster” theres a note 2 vid too just search flr it on youtube. Umm never had a case have a chip. Yeah thags it just a chip and btw bent? Who bends theres phones to see which is stronger? Bend the gs4 and you”ll hear CREAKS BEND THE HTC ONE YOU”ll hear it but you have to push it harder g
        The iphone 5 is not bendable the htc one isnt bendable the samsungs devices however are. Its fast smooth amazing design camera great os apps nice bright sharp well sized screen yeah its perfect to me :)

      • Kurt

        Note 2 is faster than the iPhone 5. Youtube vids proved it many times. Don’t watch videos from Cnet, they are so biased towards Apple it’s ridiculous.

        Go to youtube and search, “iPhone bent” just those two words and see how many iPhones get bent for being in a purse or a pocket. the weak spot is by the volume button. It’s too thin so when the phone gets a warm and pressure is applied it gets bent. you can bend it back. Perhaps not perfectly but you can do it

  • Dominik Odobašić

    These advertisements are supposed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside while you puke out hundreds or thousands of dollars for their overpriced devices. I already bought a Mac and an iPhone because there wasn’t anything better available on the market. I sure don’t need this marketing crap in my face.

    • Kurt

      Tr1p, its time to update your 2007 iPhone because there are much much better phones out there then the iPhone 5

      • Boss

        Even the iPhone 5S will probably be outdated on release

      • Kurt

        the screen will be 4 inches. When I see a 4 inch phone I think, “old”…I think that, even with my baby 3.5inch 4S

      • Taf Khan

        Only if it is released at the same time as the iPhone 6.

        But that is as likely as the iPad mini 2 with retina being released alongside the new iPad 5.

      • Kurt

        You really think the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 with retina won’t be released together? Why??

      • Taf Khan

        Well the current ipad mini has been out selling the larger ipad and thats without retina. Personally I believe the mini is the perfect size for a tablet. I don’t need the screen of my ipad 3 and would have purchased the mini had it been retina. The larger ipad is due an update for its design, apple releasing both at once will surely see the mini 2 with retina impact the sales of the ipad 5.

        Also recent reports do suggest the mini with retina is to be released next year, from Apples perspective it kind of makes sense.

        For me, the mini with retina would be welcomed sooner than later.

      • Kurt

        I hope they make a 12 inch iPad and a iPad mini with retina. So recent reports aren’t saying there will be a retina mini this year? I guess if its selling so well, then they can hold off a year before upgrading the screen. iPad mini is a great size if you have a small screen for a phone. My mother in law has a mini and really likes it. For me, I’d rather have a Note since I only want to carry one device to give me cancer. My good friend is a lawyer for a cell company and told me to never put my cell phone in my pocket, they are and have been preparing for future lawsuits they are expecting.

      • mehrab

        Sadly the iphone 5 :( is still faster the the htc one/gs4 :( and the designs better too :( oh and the camera :( is better too :((((( see tests if you dont believe me oh the 5s will just have some fancy finger printing thingy an updated camera and processor and pure ios 7 :(

  • EpicFacepalm

    It’s no surprise when you know iOS 7 icons were designed by the marketing team…

  • felixtaf

    Cant predict anything with 500 votes (Whether its for Apple or for Samsung)… Same goes to data collected via twitter…. To me, its just an ad… Nothing to download, share or watch again…

    • Kurt

      I hate polls with just a few hundred people. Like that one poll with 206 people who use Siri at least once a month. Two problems, too few of a sample and the question was terrible. If you ONLY use Siri one time a month, that means you DON’T use it. So many polls have an agenda behind them.

      For this ad, why use such a small sample size? I guess it could be ok, if they get the demographics right.

  • Pitchy

    The Made In California ad seems like they are trying WAY WAY and I mean WAAAAAY to hard sound like Don Draper in some magical Mad Men revelation.

  • Tom García

    I actually liked the Genius Bar ad..

  • gerry capo

    This ad touched me aswell… fk samsung fans who write news bashing the hottest product on earth.. they can keep gettig viruses and lagg all day! while we ex true smoothness

    • Pitchy

      basically all I got out of your post was WHINE WHINE WHINE, SCREW PEOPLE WHO THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN ME.

    • Efdhwifhhi

      You have not used a Galaxy S4, and I wouldn’t be that surprised if you have never even used an Android phone for an extensive period of time.

  • Neil Sardesai

    The minimalistic “Designed by Apple in California” video was WAY better. They should have run that on TV instead.

  • Gorgonphone

    Yup cause everything ive touches that is not hardware suuuuuucks

  • Mitchell Petrie

    i actually really like the “this is our signature” ad… it makes a nice change from the usual gimicky ads

  • Singed

    Not horrible, but pretty bad nonetheless. It tries to be overly dramatic and meaningful.

  • Bob

    Apple makes great products….. But the ads do suck