September 10th, 2013 .

Apple in California – so?

Max Morden

I have enormous respect for writers of ad copy. I love the way they can encapsulate a big idea in a few well-chosen words. That’s why I was surprised by the recent ad campaign from Apple: Designed by Apple in California.

The first ad I saw was in print, showing a young woman in a car smiling at her I-phone. The ad copy began like this:

This is it.                                                                                                                                                                       This is what matters.                                                                                                                                                    The experience of a product.

I stopped and read the words again. This is it. What is what? The experience of a product. Since when do products have experiences?

I read on, and immediately ran into a flurry of “it” words.

How it makes someone feel.                                                                                                                                        Will it make life better?                                                                                                                                               Does it deserve to exist?                                                                                                                                               

And so on.

Does this stuff actually work, I wondered? I checked on the Internet and found that the ad had scored very poorly with consumers, and had been soundly panned by critics. The main objection was that the ads were impersonal,  showing people interacting with their devices rather than other people. But I didn’t see anything that said the writing just flat out sucked.  In the entire copy there was not one evocative word, not one compelling image, not one original thought.

Apple is perhaps the most successful company of all time, so why can’t it afford to hire a decent copy-writer?  I can imagine me writing that copy and giving it to Pat for editing. I can see her reading it slowly and pursing her lips. I can see the beginning of a slight frown. And then she would look at me, big eyes peering over her reading glasses, and ask: “What exactly are you trying to say here?” And I would be stumped for an answer.







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