Apple Withdraws iPad Ad Following Viewer Criticism

Apple has issued an apology and pulled a controversial advertisement for its new iPad Pro after it sparked widespread criticism for its portrayal of destroying classic creative tools.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Apple Withdraws iPad Ad Following Viewer Criticism
© Getty Images/Joe Radle

Apple has issued an apology and pulled a controversial advertisement for its new iPad Pro after it sparked widespread criticism for its portrayal of destroying classic creative tools.

A Creative Misstep

The advertisement, which aimed to showcase the iPad Pro as a pinnacle of modern creativity, instead drew ire for its approach of crushing iconic artistic instruments such as pianos, cameras, and paintbrushes under a hydraulic press.

The intent was to highlight the device’s capabilities in replacing these traditional tools, but the execution struck a sour note with the audience. Tor Myhren, Apple’s Vice President of Marketing Communications, expressed regret over the ad's reception in a statement to Ad Age: "Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad.

We missed the mark with this video, and we're sorry." Despite the withdrawal from television, the ad remains on Apple's YouTube channel, albeit with comments disabled.

Echoes of the Past

This concept isn't new. A similar ad was run by LG fifteen years earlier for its Renoir camera phone in the UK, which also featured various items being crushed to highlight the phone's all-encompassing capabilities.

However, the technology landscape was quite different in 2008, and what was then seen as innovative now raises concerns about technology's overwhelming influence on creativity. Criticism on social media was swift and fierce.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, users, including Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham, lamented the ad's message, with some suggesting that Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs would have disapproved. One commenter interpreted the ad as a metaphor for how tech giants might be stifling human creativity through the imposition of artificial intelligence.

Reflecting on Technology and Creativity

The backlash against Apple’s ad reflects broader societal concerns about the role of technology in our lives and its impact on traditional forms of creativity. This incident highlights the delicate balance companies must maintain when promoting digital advancements without dismissing the value of conventional creative tools.

Apple's decision to pull the ad and apologize may temper some of the criticism but also serves as a reminder of the company’s need to stay in tune with public sentiment. As technology continues to evolve, so too does the dialogue around its integration into our daily lives and cultural practices.

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