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Viral Review: James Corden & Apple Team Up To Skewer Ad Clichés

This article originally appeared in Campaign magazine.

Apple: ‘The all new Apple music

Rating: 7/10

Apple advertising generally has a few staple features. Sweeping cinematography and rousing music? Check. Elegant demonstrations of product features? Check. Minimalist font? Triple check.

While the brand made its name with some of the boldest, most “out there” ad concepts ever, these days the tech giant tends to keep their branding fairly, well, conservative.

How about comedy? While a select few brands have made waves online with consistently funny adverts, Old Spice being the Saturday Night Live of the ad world, it’s not easy as it looks and there’s certainly many ways to go wrong.

Apple dipped its toe in the comedy pool earlier this year with “The kiss” and now they’re back with support from America’s new favourite Brit, James Corden.

Pushing its new and improved Apple Music service, the ad finds Corden pitching concepts for the service’s latest ad. If this all sounds tremendously post-modern, then you’re not wrong. In fact, the two-minute sketch is more a round-up of all the ads Apple and Corden could have made instead of doing this.

Appropriate to the theme, Corden’s ideas are music-related and universally bizarre. The first finds him “giving birth to Justin Bieber, who’s giving birth to Anthony Kiedis, who’s giving birth to a phone”, while subsequent offerings find him impersonating musical greats.




To this end, we see Corden in costume as David Bowie, Slash and The Spice Girls. Ultimately, he dresses up as Pharrell (comically large hat included), who admonishes the comedian for even trying to imitate him.

Predictably, the Apple Music execs are less than impressed with Corden’s efforts. His final coup de grace (and the funniest part of the spot) is the comic’s pitch for an epic ad in which he explains Apple Music to a thirsty child lost in the desert.

“Why didn’t you give him water?” replies one flummoxed executive. Corden doesn’t know what to say.

While Apple isn’t the first to produce a meta “Let’s pitch an ad” ad, drafting Corden to star does give the spot some necessary charm. Whether or not you’re a fan of Carpool Karaoke, there is something here for everyone, even if it’s just the sight of Pharrell getting his claws out.

In any case, if Apple’s funny side still doesn’t appeal then the brand has also dropped a couple spots for the traditionalists.

Coinciding with the momentous iPhone 7 announcement, “Midnight” and “Morning ride” highlight specific features of the new device, namely, its waterproof seal and its use of low-light photography.

As listed above, these spots feature sweeping shots, elegant demonstrations and tidy fonts, focusing on the stories of a daring cyclist and an insomniac photographer. Both are predictably sumptuous and effortlessly stylish, so fans of the brand’s usual schtick may find these more to your taste.

Many will remember September as the month Apple reinvented headphones, so it would take a pretty mind-blowing effort to erase that particular memory.

While none of these new spots have the flair or inventiveness once associated with the brand, they are reliable efforts from a brand which can’t help but make beautiful, watchable advertising.