Friday, March 25, 2011

Forget smartphones, get a smarmphone

Leave it to Apple to concoct the smarmiest, most defensive ad campaign of the year.

Smug Douchebag Announcer: "If you don't have an iPhone, you don't have iBooks. So you don't have your favorite books in your pocket."

The emphasis on "your" there is weird, like if you buy an Android Phone it jams a hundred books you don't like down your pants. "Hey! Get out of there, the complete Dean Koontz oeuvre!"

SDA: "And you don't have the iBook store, an entire bookstore in your pocket."

Just in case you couldn't figure out what "the iBook store" could possibly be referring to, here's another whole clause!

SDA: "So whether you're looking for a certain author or a New York Times best-seller, a good book is just a tap away."

Certainly not true of any other product!

SDA: "Yup, if you don't have an iPhone, well, you don't have an iPhone."

Tautology moves a lot of product, let me tell you.

The whole series of these ads is so obnoxiously smug that, frankly, it completely turns me off from ever wanting an iPhone. And it's not just that they treat themselves like the hottest shit on the planet. Take this ad, for instance - the iPhone is trying to throw its body in front of e-readers like Amazon's Kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook, and etc. And that's all well and good, I guess, except that the iPhone isn't really a competitor to those products. It's a phone. It's great how much other stuff it does, but if I want to read a book and don't want an actual book, I'm going to get an e-reader. The iPhone screen is like four inches! Yeah, can't wait to be hunched over Moby-Dick on a screen that size. It's like that T-Mobile commercial that brags about the phone that comes preloaded with Inception, as though anyone is excited to watch Inception, a film noteworthy for its visuals, on a tiny screen in the palm of their hand. I swear, sometimes I feel like the more things they make smartphones do, the less excited I am about it. I want a phone that makes calls and can surf the internet. I don't need to watch tiny, tiny movies or read tiny, tiny books. There are other devices that can do those things on the go in a way that isn't completely stupid, and if I need to do them that badly, I'll get one of those devices.

Are there 80 million variants on how much of a stupid jerk you are for not having an iPhone? Of course there are.

SDA: "If you don't have an iPhone, you don't have an iPod in your phone."

A necessary thing that everyone should have! Also, pretty much every smartphone plays music, asshole.

SDA: "With your music, and your playlists."

Again with the overemphasis on how this will be stuff you like, as though it's not true of anything else. Windows Phone finds out what music you like and then deliberately recommends completely unrelated tracks. Android phones come preloaded exclusively with fifteen remixes of "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas. I know the idea is how great it is that the iPhone can sync to iTunes, but really, BFD.

SDA: "And you don't have iTunes on your phone, the world's #1 music store."

Hey, have you heard of iTunes? No? Well, apparently it's some kind of music store. Good thing they told us that, or this ad would have been really confusing. Now it's time for some applesauce - open wide for the airplane!

(My phone, which is not an iPhone as you can probably guess, comes with direct access to the MP3 store, which is basically the exact same thing as the iTunes store. So... no, Apple, I really don't care.)

SDA: "With Genius, that recommends new music based on the songs you already have."

Do not care. At all. Every online music company in the world recommends music based on your established likes. And who buys songs on their phone based on a recommendation without even listening to them first?

SDA: "Yup, if you don't have an iPhone, go fuck yourself."

Well, maybe he didn't say that. But he may as well have. I find the tone of ads like this completely counterproductive. It's 30 seconds of telling any iPhone-less viewer that they're an idiot for not having one because it's just that great. Why would you want to talk down to consumers? Unless that was the point...

Adman 1: Okay, time to get to work on the new iPhone commercial, guys. What should we focus on?
Adman 2: All the great features!
Adman 3: The ways in which it's better than other phones!
Adman 4: The douchey self-satisfaction you get from owning one!
Adman 5: The inherent superiority of iPhone owners to other humans!
Adman 1: Those are all pretty great ideas. Anyone have a slogan?
Adman 4: "If you don't have an iPhone, go get one right now, you stupid twit!"
Adman 5: "If you don't have an iPhone, you probably also don't have a BRAIN!"
Adman 1: Okay, um, not bad, but maybe a little bit too on the nose. We don't want to insult potential customers.
Adman 5: We don't?
Adman 4: The iPhone is still made by Apple, right? I mean, have you ever seen an Apple ad before? Those Mac vs. PC ads are classic examples of insulting the consumer!
Adman 5: Apple products sell themselves by word of mouth. The whole point of the TV ads is just to make people who already own Apple products feel even more satisfied with themselves than they already do. They're like "attaboy" pats on the back for people who own Apple stuff.
Adman 1: Wow. Okay. What about something like "If you don't have an iPhone, you don't have an iPhone?"
Adman 4: ...maybe. But can you get the guy talking to sound like he's much, much better than anyone who doesn't have one?
Adman 5: Gotta have that sense of superiority. It justifies the inflated purchase price.
Adman 1: Okay, I think we're all done here.

The iPhone! If you don't have one, how are you supposed to feel like a better person than all the other losers?


Winston Smith said...

wholeheartedly agree

Anonymous said...

I can't believe they actually air those commercials. I have an iPhone and it makes me want to throw it in the garbage--along with that smarmy douchebag announcer's head.