Tried and True: Why Apple’s Advertising is the way it is

Yesterday, Apple announced its new series of products at a conference in Cupertino. The event had a mysterious white box, the requisite Apple fanboys, and U2 was there (a free album is on Itunes right now).

To much fanfare, CEO Tim Cook announced two new phones, the long-awaited Apple Watch, and related software upgrades. During the conference, he went over some of the reasons the new devices are better, which can be found in greater detail here. (1)

This is very much in line with the way Apple has announced products in the past: a great event, preceded by much hype, and the classic “One more thing” to finish the event in style. However, the next step-marketing to consumers-is where Apple deviates from almost every other company.

If you go back to what we think of as ancient history, this is perhaps Apple’s most iconic ad:


If you look carefully, the ad doesn’t tell you anything about Apple’s product. Instead, this emphasizes the psychological value of the computer: you will not be a mindless drone-you have an identity if you have this product. This advertising can be seen again and again, from the silhouette ads (3), to the child making a christmas movie (4), and finally to the ads shown yesterday.



These ads reinforce the luxury aspect of Apple: if you own these, you will look sleek, cool, refined. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon provided the vocals for the Iphone 6 spot-aren’t they cool, awesome, funny guys? Don’t we all want to be like them?

This isn’t a new phenomenon. As seen in the “1984” ad, this tactic goes back for quite a while. However, is it effective? As Apple loses market share to Android, whose phones may not be marketed as beautifully, but are marketed more functionally, is this an approach that is sustainable and, in the long run, successful?

Apple markets its products as a lifestyle. When you buy an IPhone, you aren’t buying a phone. No, you are buying an experience, a lifestyle, a choice about who you are as a person. Will you shoot a video that makes your family cry on vacation? Will you show off this luxury item as a status symbol?

With Apple’s recent capture of Angela Ahrendt from Burberry,(7) this focus is emphasized even more. In the months to come, sales figures and tech blogs will show if this approach to advertising and marketing is still enough to get customers to pony up for the latest igizmo.


1. Bonnington, C. (2014, September 9). See All the Glorious Gadgets From Apple’s Big Event.Wired.

2. antisubliminal. 2006, June 19. Apple-1984. Retrieved from

3. EveryAppleAd. 2012, December 30. Apple COMPLETE ipod “Silhouette” ad campaign compilation (2004-2008). Retrieved from

4. SilveSnow. 2013, December 17. Apple iPhone Christmas Commercial 2013. Retrieved from

5. EveryAppleAd. 2014, September 9. Apple iPhone 6 ad feat. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon – Duo. 2014. Retrieved from

6. Today News. 2014, September 9. Introducing Apple Watch – Apple iwatch Official Video Commercial AD 2014. Retrieved from

7. Martin, J. (2013, October 20). From ‘Apple Computer’ to ‘Apple Lifestyle’ Retrieved September 10, 2014.

3 thoughts on “Tried and True: Why Apple’s Advertising is the way it is

  1. I think it’s crazy how well Apple has marketed the lifestyle aspect of their products. It has almost become an all out war between Android and IOS users. I have seen grown adults get into fights about which is a better operating system and which phone is better. I have also seen the immaturity of my contemporaries in how judgmental they are about the differences. I have a friend who constantly gave me grief about my android phone up until I eventually switched plans and bought an iPhone. I think some people obsess too much about brand lifestyle (i.e. my friend), but this just attests to Apple’s great marketing strategy!


  2. I think Apple advertisements are very good. I am always intrigued by them, and the Christmas one almost brought me to tears! They way they sell the experience is smart. I believe Apple is well known enough that they do not need to advertise fictionality because everyone believes the iPhone is the best phone to buy. Adding Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake to the commercial was a good move because who doesn’t love them? Knowing that I have a phone in which Fallon and Timberlake promote is a pretty cool thing. Marketing the latest and greatest products with a big conference helps create hype for the new phone and gets people talking about it.


  3. I think Apple does a very good job marketing their “vision statement” which carries a particular lifestyle. Often times they challenge the people of our time and quote powerful leaders who took risk in innovation. I think they do so well because they have become an iconic company. They consistently create new products that some would say conquer the rest to no comparison. I also think their ads glorify the sleek and chic technology that consumers lust after. Everyone wants the next best thing. With the iPhones in particular I think Apple consumers always want whats new and hot and don’t really focus on how much or how little rather, has changed about the product itself. However, because the company has made its name to the top of the charts, and have so many celebrities and other individuals who embody this powerful freeing lifestyle, I think all of these little changes will always be made into the next best innovation rather than something that hasn’t really changed.


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