In a world where everyone is increasingly putting everything online, saving important data on cloud services and pushing buttons on a keyboard to keep it secure, it comes as no surprise that IDs and passwords have become more important than documents that verify you are human. And while there are people who are pretty good at updating and remembering all of their IDs and passwords, there is a fairly large number of people who just set a single password, and often forget that too. Well, if you are one of them or have a phobia of passwords or are just always scared about your personal information falling into the wrong hands, well, then you might relate to the latest ad that Apple has released. To highlight Face ID on iPhone X, the Cupertino tech giant has come out a new ad called, “iPhone X – Memory”, but is it going to be memorable enough (lame pun intended)?
Tick-tock, phone lock?
“iPhone X – Memory” begins with a huge audience applauding two people on stage where a larger-than-life memory challenge is taking place. As the applause fades and pin drop silence descends on the theater, the game show host asks the contestant one final memory challenge question, “This morning you created an online banking password. What is it?” The audience gasps at the extremely difficult question, and as the contestant struggles to remember his password, a cloud of suspense hovers over the auditorium.
The contestant starts talking to himself as he tries to remember the password that he created in the morning. Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking away and with only 29 seconds left, he starts panicking. The tension mounts as the host reaches towards the big red button on the table while the man continues to struggle, even as the audience bites its nails.
Just as the host is about to push the big red button, the contestant stops him, explaining how he remembers the password. 15 more seconds pass by, and as he struggles, the audience reacts in different ways – some laughing, some worried and a baby crying in the crowd add to the stress. As the pressure builds up, the hot seat contestant pulls out an iPhone X from his pocket, with a login screen in which the password has not been entered. As he looks at his phone, the Face ID icons appear on the blue screen and voila! He is logged in.
As our relieved protagonist wins this race against time, he finds himself sitting at a cafe. He then goes back to enjoy his victory moment, with the crowd cheering as he holds up his iPhone X. This is followed by text on the screen saying, “Your face is your password”. On a black background then golden words (literally) appear, “Face ID on iPhone X” and the ad ends with the company’s logo.
The ad is one minute 38 second long and has very dramatic music playing in the background in keeping with the game show and theatre setting. Production values are very good indeed with audience noise, dramatic pauses and even a few hallucinatory special effects blending in to create a compelling atmosphere.
It is in your face, literally!
Remember how we have praised many ads by Apple because they had our favorite advertising ingredients, the three Ss’– simple, short and straightforward? Well, it seems like the company forgot its mainstream ad recipe and tried something different as this ad had none of these three elements. It was not short; it was not simple, it was not straightforward. In an ideal world, this should spell disaster but guess what? It is actually the complete opposite.
From the second the spot opens, it seems like you are watching “Who wants to be a billionaire?” on your screen but only a bigger and better avatar of it. We love how the company has created a tense situation which is also incredibly funny at the same time. You might not realize it is an iPhone X ad till the very last bit when the contestant takes the phone out of his pocket but when he does, it hits you straight in the face (and feels nice).
Most of us might not have found ourselves on a similar contest hot seat but being unable to remember your password? We have all been there and while it may not be as dramatic as this, but it definitely is scary which makes this ad very relatable in a weird way.
We also liked the build up because all the drama in the ad led to the product which became the knight in the shining armor and saved the day, just in time. And who does not like a hero?
Apple in this ad has highlighted the product and its USP feature which is Face ID in a very ‘boom boom pow’ way which makes it very memorable (unlike our passwords). We like how the company has taken a basic issue which a lot of us have to deal with in our daily lives and has created not a regular but a very out-of-the-box ad with it. And one of the best parts of the ad is that it successfully transports its audience from game show to a coffee place and it all still makes sense.
In many ads, the background music generally plays a supporting role, but here we think it was as much of a hero as the visuals. It builds the tension and creates a situation of intensity and then adds humor to it at the right time, which earns this ad a lot of brownie points.
At some point in our lives, we all have faced a similar stressful situation where we have struggled to remember passwords to our accounts. And remembering them at the right time can feel like winning a contest. Apple has just taken that slice out of our daily lives and has created something brilliant with it.
It may be far from the mainstream ad blueprint, but it is entertaining, engaging, hilarious and definitely memorable. In the ad, the company has not talked numbers or specs, it has not bombarded our brains with heavy duty information about Face ID and has still managed to get the message across (you do not have to remember a password – let your face do the work). And while doing so, it leaves a mark on the viewer. The best mark of them all.