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  • Orbitae Films

Apple “Crushes” Creativity

Updated: May 28

Apple recently faced significant backlash over its iPad Pro "Crush" advertisement, prompting an apology from the tech giant and opening discussions about human creativity in a world increasingly influenced by AI. Here's what happened.

 

apple crush

THE AD AND ITS CONTROVERSY

On May 7, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook published the ad on his X account. As of today, the post has over 60 million views, but the comments are overwhelmingly negative.

 


To promote their thinnest iPad, Apple decided to crush a myriad of artistic symbols—such as paint cans, musical instruments and cameras—with an industrial hydraulic press. The backlash was immediate, forcing Apple to issue an apology just a few days later and acknowledge that the ad "missed the mark", as reported by CNN.

 

Many internet users were also quick to compare this ad with LG’s 2008 one, where various instruments were equally destroyed in a vertical press to create a mobile phone. As a result, Apple lost even more points for lack of originality.


IN CONTRAST WITH THE 1984 AD

Apple's "1984" Super Bowl ad is one of the brand's most famous commercials. Directed by Ridley Scott, it depicted a dystopian future inspired by George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four". The ad showed an athletic heroine destroying a screen portraying Big Brother, symbolizing IBM, to introduce the Macintosh computer. Despite initial controversy and almost being pulled, it set a new standard in advertising and solidified Apple's image as an innovative disruptor, as described in Mental Floss.

 


The "1984" ad contrasts sharply with today's ads. The company's early advertisements, including "Think Different", celebrated individuality, creativity and breaking away from the norm. These ads were not just about the products but about a vision of technology as a liberating force, a way to enhance creativity. Over the years, Apple's focus has shifted to highlighting the design and functionality of its products, often with simpler, more direct messages, that, in this case, did not land.

 

SAMSUNG'S SWIFT RESPONSE

Capitalizing on Apple's stumble, Samsung released its own ad just a week later, trolling Apple's blunder and highlighting Samsung's commitment to originality and creativity.


Executive Creative Director from advertising agency BBH USA, Estefanio Holtz, said in a statement to CBS News:

"It's about humanity, and the tablet is just a tool that helps her [the guitar player] play the notes. We went in the opposite direction to remind people, as we go through technological innovations, that we cannot leave humanity behind".

The response, however, was met with mixed reviews.


TECHNOLOGY AND CREATIVITY

The controversy sparks a broader conversation about the role of technology in creative industries. As technology advances, including AI, concerns grow over the authenticity and originality of creative work. The backlash against Apple's ad reflects a fear that AI-driven or derivative creativity may undermine genuine human exploration and creation. In a time when AI can generate art, music, and even advertisements, the emphasis on originality and ethical creativity becomes even more critical.


Technological tools have always been a double-edged sword in the creative process. On one hand, they enable unprecedented levels of creativity and productivity. Software for graphic design, video editing and music production allows creators to push the boundaries of their fields. On the other hand, the accessibility of these tools can lead to homogenization, where the unique touch of human creativity is overshadowed by templated, algorithm-generated content.


In this case and in today's panorama, Apple's "Crush" ad pushed (or crushed) the wrong buttons.

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