The geniuses at Apple and their longtime agency TBWA/Media Arts Lab have nailed it again with their collection of spots for the iPhone 4S. The “Santa” [http://www.apple.com/iphone/videos/#tv-ads-santa] spot manages to squeeze all the magic of Christmas (and the 4S) into thirty seconds as we learn how Santa now relies on Siri to get him through the night.
The mystical soundtrack, a segment of “Goldengrove 2” [http://tvcfblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/apple-iphone-4s-santa-commercial-song.html] by Keith Kenniff (a.k.a. Helios), sets the mood perfectly for Santa to work with Siri to find houses, get a quick nag from Mrs. Claus, and check destination temps as his cold worsens and his cookie count grows.
The brilliance of branding here (or the value of the ubiquitous Apple brand): they don’t even have to name the product. Nowhere in the spot is there a mention or title or anything that spells out that this is the iPhone 4S. But who wouldn’t know? The Apple brand lets them take it to the final shot, where the Apple logo hangs in the snow-filled night sky like a full moon. Always there. Always on.
Now, like most great technology ads, this one fudges the speed just a tad. For anyone who has done the math on the logistics of Santa, this also looks like a perfect match. I decided to test Siri on one of Santa’s questions: “How do I get to Charlie Grant’s house?” Siri did this just fine, although it did take about 15 seconds for the map to pop up for me, whereas Santa had Charlie’s house all mapped out in less than a second. Maybe that house he was in had an amazing wifi connection right by the fireplace. Anyway, with 3.7 billion stops ahead of him, let’s hope Santa only needed directions for a few houses. Otherwise, my math suggests he’d need to tack on an extra 17,000 years of wait time.
Apple and TBWA are even brilliant with their disclaimer. In faded white text toward the bottom of Santa’s sleigh, while in the much more interesting part of the frame above, Santa is asking “How does the rest of my day look?”, we see “Sequences shortened” (Translation: Serving Suggestion, or “We made everything happen instantly. Cool, huh?”).
Random factoids: Santa is left-handed, except when asking how cold it is in Raleigh, where he becomes ambidextrous for about 17 frames. The iPhone 4S contains advanced wireless hand-warming technology, thus eliminating the need for gloves.
Yes, Virginia, I love this ad. It’s fast, it’s funny and, yet again, it shows how Apple can still launch new products with a little help from its famous friends.