Apple and Super Bowl commercials

Mon, Feb 6, 2012


Did you catch that Apple ad during last night’s Super Bowl? Yeah, me either. But Lance Ulanoff of Mashable thinks they should have run one.

For Apple, though, there is a bigger concern here. By not appearing at the Super Bowl, Apple is letting its competition frame the discussion. Founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, who died months before the Samsung ads started airing, would likely have wanted to create some sort of counter attack. He was, after all, the chief architect of the Macintosh and the remarkable first ad promoting it.

So, yes, why not run an ad that points out that Apple does more than simply make gorgeous hardware? Maybe a new spot that somehow spins the concept of an ecosystem that spans multiple screens and even the cloud? It’s not a bad idea, but Apple won’t do that. If it was going to run a Super Bowl ad, it would need a new product, or at least the hint of a new product to promote.

Oh spare me. Ulanoff goes on to write that Apple needs some new hardware.

Here’s a more distressing fact. It has been more than a year since Apple released significant new hardware. Obviously, I’m aware of the iPhone 4S, which launched just a day before Jobs died. It’s a wonderful phone, and who doesn’t love Siri (some, too much)? But it’s essentially an iPhone 4 update and not a wholly new gadget.

Does anyone realize how long we’ve been talking about new Apple hardware with nothing to show for it? People began talking about the iPhone 5 almost immediately after Apple shipped the iPhone 4. They started talking iPad 3 in January 2011 and Apple iTV buzz has been going strong since last fall (when Isaacson’s Jobs biography reported that the late CEO had “solved TV”).

Do any of these tech morons bother to pay attention to Apple’s financials? Does 37 million iPhones sold in a single quarter – with the bulk of them being iPhone 4S’ – not resonate with Ulanoff?

I worry that without Steve Jobs, Apple may have lost some of its fighting spirit. For all his quirks, Jobs was a fighter. He liked to deride the competition and then beat them, as publicly as possible. Imagine if right after the Samsung Super Bowl ad, Apple had run some sort of iconic spot for, say, the Apple iTV: “Television is about to change forever, thanks to the company that, 28 years ago, changed computing forever. Watch…” Now that would’ve been cool. Jobs would have done it. What is Cook’s plan?

So Steve Jobs, the fighter, chose to put a completely passive guy incapable of much at all at the helm? Gimme a break. And as for Apple’s rumored iTV, Apple’s not one to advertise for products that don’t even officially exist. Vaporware is the province of other companies, not Apple.

This is tech writing at its worst: Ill informed, cliched, and completely off base.



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