We're pleased to introduce a new column today, Adgadget, a periodic editorial by Ariel Waldman about the advertising behind consumer technology:
This time the muse happens to be experimental artist / musician Christian Marclay, who in 1995 produced Telephones, an abstract film of absurd and fragmented conversations cut up from phone scenes in movies. The film focused to comment on the relationship between sound and image by way of video; intrigued by the phone-movie mashup, Apple approached Marclay to use his work. Marclay, of course, refused Apple's advances, but Apple took advantage anyway. Since asking the source had short-circuited, Apple instead took to using extremely similar footage, making the iPhone commercial nothing short of a complete color copy of Telephones.
Reminiscent of the earlier Intel chip commercial outcry that clearly ripped out scenes from Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" music video, content confiscation is nothing new to Apple. There was also the iPod incident in 2005, where blogs everywhere threw up screen grabs and expressed shock over the extreme similarity between the then recent Eminem iPod commercial and a Lugz commercial from 4 years before. But it wasn't always this way.