Apple’s Latest iPhone Ad is Brilliant

The format of the ads in the series, as may you know, are that they posit one of those little problems in modern life, then demo an iPhone apps that solves the problem.   In this latest ad, the problem is, “you know when you don’t know what song is playing, and it’s driving you crazy?” and the app demonstrated is Shazam, one of several iPhone apps that will identify a song based on listening to several seconds of it playing.

Where it gets clever is that they incorporate the hooky tune that’s been the instrumental background for all of the iPhone 3G ads as if it’s being played out of a speaker on screen—then identify the song just like Shazam would.  So the commercial itself is not only actually useful to people who like the song, it gives proper credit to the artists, which you rarely see in TV ads.  (The song is “You Me and the Bourgeoisie” by The Submarines, by the way).  Then, at the touch of the screen, the ad transitions seamlessly into the vocal version of the song (also clever), which swells to fill your TV’s speakers as the AT&T and Apple logos appear.  It’s very well done. 

Of course, the song itself is about the materialism and excess of those of us in the developed world—how if we love more we need fewer physical things, and how “we not living the good life / Unless we’re fighting the good fight.”  Yet it has become the theme song for one of the most well known, most influential mass market commercial products in recent memory, sold by a company built on selling premium electronics to the bourgeoisie?  I think if I wrote the song, and really felt its message, that might annoy me a bit.  On the other hand… if you’re an indie band from LA, and you can get over the philosophical implications… how cool would it be to have one of your songs picked as the theme song for one of the most well known, most influential mass market commercial products in recent memory?

One last thought.  I went online and bought the song immediately after hearing the ad; I’ve always like the instrumental version, and I liked the vocal version even more.  But I bought it from the Amazon MP3 store, not from iTunes.  Know why?  DRM.  I’ve gotten into the habit of buying from Amazon instead of iTunes, because I won’t tolerate someone else trying to lock up my music.  As it turns out, “You Me and the Bourgeoisie” is an iTunes Plus track—it has no DRM.   Too bad for Apple I didn’t know that—their ad did a great job of closing a sale for their competition.  Getting rid of DRM sooner, rather than later?  Probably a good idea.

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