The stickler that he was, Steve Jobs hated the first iPad ad that ever aired (viewable below). In his biography of Jobs, Walter Isaacson relayed that Jobs thought it "looked like a Pottery Barn commercial" and demanded that TBWA executive James Vincent deliver "something big."
Jobs essentially wanted an iPad ad that delivered a grand statement, a manifesto that adequately reflected how impactful he believed the iPad to be.
After mulling over the options, Jobs realized what he wanted. Not humor, nor a celebrity, nor a demo.
"It's got to make a statement," he said. "It needs to be a manifesto. This is big."
He had announced that the iPad would change the world, and he wanted a campaign that reinforced that declaration. Other companies would come out with copycat tablets in a year or so, he said, and he wanted people to remember that the iPad was the real thing. "We need ads that stand up and declare what we have done."
The result was the following ad, which described the iPad as magical, powerful and the beginning of a new revolution -- technical, cultural and otherwise.
Recently, it seems as if Apple has taken the manifesto motif to new heights. Apple's most recent iPad ad, dubbed "Your Verse," epitomizes what Apple has been doing with a lot of its commercials over the past year; emotional ads that convey an experience, some relatable and others inspirational.
Over the past 12 months, Apple has released ads that, I think, constitute some of the best ads Apple has ever done. To be sure, striking an emotional chord isn't anything new for Apple, but in recent months it seems that the company has really hit its stride, delivering a slew of artistic, creative and memorable ads in the process.
So let's look back at some of the more powerful ads Apple has released over the past few months.
First up, we have the original iPad Air commercial featuring narration from Walter White (aka Bryan Cranston). Though not an emotional ad, it does fit the bill as an iPad manifesto of sorts.
In April of 2013, Apple introduced the first of three "Everyday" ads. The first one, titled "Photos Every Day," features a soothing and elegant soundtrack from composer Rob Simonsen.
One month later, Apple released "Music Everyday." Though some people may disagree, I think this is without question one of the best ads Apple has ever released. For as much talk of how technology often works to isolate us, this commercial illustrates quite the opposite. The music here draws you in while the video vignettes themselves show how music via the iPhone helps motivate, comfort and enhance. More than that, it showcases the bonding power of music. The subtle, yet effective musical buildup matches up perfectly with the video clips, resulting in absolutely incredible ad.
And speaking of bringing people together, let's not forget about Apple's "FaceTime Everyday" ad.
In late December, Apple posted a heartwarming ad titled "Misunderstood." Holiday themed, the ad depicts a teenage boy who would rather spend his holiday vacation with his head in phone than with his family. As the story unfolds, we see that the boy is "misunderstood." Rather than wanting to isolate himself, he's actually been busy documenting heartwarming family moments, culminating in a sentimental family video presumably shot and edited with an iPhone 5s.
Apple's iPhone 5c ad, dubbed "Greetings," feature folks from all walks of life and cultures using the iPhone to connect. It's not an emotional powerhouse like some of the examples above, but it's fun, lighthearted and engaging.
Of course, not every Apple commercial tugs at the heartstrings, and sure, there have been duds. But Apple ads over the past few months have really set a new bar when it comes to emotional, moving and powerful advertising.