Apple has got a phenomenal reputation when it comes to advertisements. Many would even say that the brand made tech advertising a “thing” with its famous 1984 ad for the Macintosh. So when the company released its first set of advertisements for the new iPhones, expectations were very high indeed!

Stepping into the wind tunnel for a test

Apple has used a wind tunnel for both ads, giving them a slight sci-fi feel. The two ads – “It’s tough out there” and “Triple camera system” are shot inside a wind tunnel. A tunnel in which the new iPhone 11 Pro is placed on a stand.

That is about as much as the two ads have in common though. For the two ads focus on two different aspects of the device. “It’s tough out there” highlights the build quality of the iPhone 11 Pro – how tough it is. “Triple camera system” as its very name indicates is all about the much-talked-of cameras on the device.

“It’s tough out there” subjects the iPhone 11 Pro to an all-out assault. Literally. For about a minute, all sorts of objects, ranging from teddy bears to superhero dolls to broccoli to carrots to gloves and other household objects fly across the tunnel and hit the phone at speed. Just when you thought you had seen everything, a massive wedding cake drops on it and is washed away by water from overhead sprinklers. Finally, a series of rubber ducks bounce off the phone. The iPhone 11 Pro survives all these attacks, staying pristine as ever, even as the words “It’s tough out there” appear on the display.

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“Triple camera display” starts in a similar wind tunnel. Only instead of all kinds of sundry objects gunning for the iPhone, this time a gorgeous dog walks in and sits down. The iPhone 11 Pro then takes a number of pictures of this model canine, highlighting the telephoto, wide and ultrawide lenses on the back of the phone. The lights then go out, leaving the dog in darkness. The iPhone 11 Pro goes right ahead and still takes a shot, and thanks to the new Night mode in the device’s cameras, you still end up with a brilliant shot of the dog.

Ticking the creative and communication boxes …

The ads are simple and direct. There are no celebrities or distractions or even any dialogue. And both hit the communications bullseye. “It’s a tough out there” leaves you admiring the strength of the new iPhone, “Triple camera system” shows you what each of the cameras on the new iPhone can do, and also showcases the new Night mode on the camera.

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In spite of their simplicity, both ads also click the creativity boxes. We are used to brands going over the top while highlighting the resilience of their phones, but even though Apple has used a slight sci-fi setting for the ad, the objects that hit the iPhone 11 are the ones you would find in most households, and which consequentially have a greater chance of hitting the device. In the “Triple camera system” ad, we think the use of a dog rather than a conventional human model is a lovely – awwwsome (and even pawsome) touch. The fact that the dog is of a breed whose hair literally flies around in the wind tunnel, helps in making the pictures even more spectacular. We would have preferred a few portrait snaps too, though – wonder how it would have handled all those strands of hair.

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In terms of sheer effectiveness, both ads work. The message is simple, direct and creatively delivered with no chance of misinterpretation.

…but not the Apple ones

And yet, they do not FEEL like Apple ads. Do not get us wrong, both ads have superb production values, are sleek and as we pointed out earlier, get the message across. Any other company or brand would have reason to be proud of them. But this is Apple we are talking of. The standards are different. Perhaps we have been spoiled by the essential humanity that we see in many Apple ads – the little touches of emotion that mark so many of them, some sentiment which often made you feel good about the product. These ads alas have none of that. Some might smile at seeing a tiny superhero slide off the back of the iPhone and some others might go “awww” at seeing a dog walk-in for an iPhone photo session, but that apart, we found these two ads just a little, well, dry. Perhaps it is the sci-fi setting or the total absence of any hint of human beings that do it, but the ads are almost totally devoid of emotion. Unusually, they even have different durations – one is of a minute, the other forty seconds.

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Yes, they deliver the message. Efficiently. And perhaps effectively too. But not emotionally. Our heads are nodding in approval. But our hearts did not miss a beat or feel moved. Healthy? Definitely. But not quite Apple.

(Akriti Rana contributed substantially to this story)

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