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The controversial advertisement for Apple’s new iPad: Does technology crush human creativity?

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The controversial advertisement for Apple’s new iPad: Does technology crush human creativity?

The advertisement released by Apple to introduce its new iPad Pro has stirred up so much controversy online that the California-based company decided

The commercial, unveiled by the tech giant on Tuesday, depicts a hydraulic press crushing a wide range of instruments and tools that artists and consumers have used over the years in creative work, from a piano and a record player to paint, books, and cameras.

The outcome of the destruction? The new iPad Pro. “The most powerful iPad ever is also the thinnest,” says a narrator at the end of the commercial.

Apple’s intent seems straightforward: to showcase all that can be done with this new product. But critics have dubbed it as unfocused, and several marketing experts agree that the campaign’s execution falls short.

“I had a really unsettling reaction to the ad,” said Americus Reed II, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “I conceptually understood what they were trying to do, but… I think the way it was perceived is that here you have technology destroying the life of those nostalgic sources of joy (from past times).”

The ad also comes at a time when many feel insecure or fearful about seeing their work or daily routines “replaced” by technological advancements, particularly amid the rapid commercialization of generative artificial intelligence. And seeing beloved objects shattered into oblivion doesn’t help quell those fears, Reed and others point out.

“The destruction of the human experience” Several celebrities also joined the chorus of critics regarding the ad on social media this week.

“The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley,” actor Hugh Grant wrote on the X social media platform, responding to a new post of the ad shared by Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Some found the ad to be a revealing metaphor for the current industry, particularly concerns about the negative impact of big tech on creatives. Filmmaker Justine Bateman wrote on X that the commercial “crushes the arts.”

Experts added that the commercial marked a notable departure from the marketing seen from Apple in the past, which has often embraced more positive or uplifting approaches.

“My initial thought was that Apple has become exactly what it never wanted to be,” said Vann Graves, executive director of the Brandcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Graves pointed to Apple’s famous 1984 ad featuring the Macintosh computer, which he said focused more on elevating creativity and thinking outside the box as a unique individual. In contrast, Graves added, “this (new iPad) commercial says, ‘No, we’re going to take all the creativity in the world and use a hydraulic press to push it into a device that everyone uses’.”

Apple’s apology for the controversial ad for the new iPad: Crush In a statement shared with Ad Age on Thursday, Apple apologized for the ad. The outlet also reported that Apple no longer plans to air the ad on television.

“Creativity is in our DNA at Apple and is incredibly important to us as we design products that empower creatives around the world,” Tor Myhren, vice president of marketing communications for the company, told Ad Age. “Our goal is to always celebrate the countless ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through the iPad. We missed the mark with this video and we apologize.”

Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, unveiled its latest generation of iPads earlier this week at a showcase that praised the new features for both lines.

The Pro features a new slimmer design, a new M4 processor for increased processing power, slightly improved storage, and incorporates dual OLED panels for a brighter and sharper display.

Apple is trying to boost iPad demand after its tablet sales fell 17% from last year during the January-March period. After its debut in 2010 helped redefine the tablet market, the iPad has become a minor contributor to Apple’s success. It currently accounts for only 6% of the company’s sales.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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