Welcome Home – An Apple Film by Spike Jonze
You’ve likely seen the new video Apple released for the launch of their new product; the “HomePod”. It’s really a short film in all aspects of the term. The story follows a young woman broodingly making her way home on the subway, through the rain, etc. To find herself back at home releasing her pent up energy with HomePod, dancing and transforming her apartment with a wave of her hand.
The purpose of the film
Let’s dissect this a little bit from an advertising standpoint. If you read some of the comments on Facebook about this video the feedback is mostly glowing, with a few trolls here and there (that you can never really escape), but one comment really stood out to me:
“It’s not even advertising anything… There’s one clip at the beginning and one clip at the end of the HomePod. The rest is just a music video. #Applefail”
Well, he’s partly right. There are only 2 shots in the entire 4 minute film of the HomePod. But I think he might be missing the point of this ad. It’s really NOT an ad for HomePod. HomePod was just the most recent and convenient product to use as a vehicle for the film. If you think about it, the 2 shots of HomePod could be lifted out of the film and it wouldn’t really change it all that much. In fact, if this film was produced in 2001, those 2 shots could easily have been replaced with iPod. Or, they could have used the film to launch iPhone X. So why HomePod? Why now? The answer? 1st Quarter Social & Brand Awareness.
Timing is everything
1st quarter in the tech industry is often times the slowest. The holidays are over, it’s cold, tax season is approaching, etc… There’s NO WAY Apple would waste a product launch like iPhone X during Q1. Even with all the Apple fans out there, the sales would suffer tremendously due to the timing. Historically Apple uses Q1 to launch products like iPod Shuffle, Mac Mini, and similar low-profile products. So it stands to reason that the timing of HomePod is consistent. So rather than hammer the product, Apple is using this time to gain more social and brand awareness with the HomePod film.
In the case of this advertisement, the product being advertised is not HomePod. The product IS the video. When you see sponsored content for it on social media urging you to “click” or “swipe”, you aren’t taken to Apple’s website to see photos or read about the specs for HomePod. There’s not even a “buy now” button to purchase HomePod. You are taken to the video. The advertising message for the film is quite obvious: “Apple products can transform your life”. I say “obvious” because once our main character begins using the Apple product, her apartment begins to LITERALLY transform. But there are a few more advertising nuggets to be found here.
Apple is trying to reach as wide a demographic as possible. So they want to make sure you see the “Directed by Spike Jonze” on all advertisements of the film. Why? Because Spike’s director’s slate contains critically acclaimed titles like “Her”, “Three Kings”, and “Being John Malkovich”; but he also directed pretty much all of the Jackass movies so his appeal can reach the pretentious and lighthearted alike. Apple also chose a piece of music by Anderson .Paak, an artist whose music library features a variety of sounds from Hip-Hop to Rhythm & Blues. The track Apple uses is from the latter genre for mass appeal’s sake. So the potential reach of Apple’s film includes Apple fans, Spike Jonze fans, Anderson .Paak fans, and any and all combinations of the 3 (millions of people at least).
Apple’s game plan with this advertisement was strategic and brilliant. The social reach Apple is gaining from this campaign will translate to product sales for Apple’s entire consume line. Not just HomePod. As far as a Q1 ad campaign, this one is a home run.