Apple is partial to a commercial that tugs the heartstrings, and the Cupertino firm’s latest spot – set to make its broadcast debut during the Olympic Opening Ceremony on Friday – pulls no punches. “Human Family”, as the advert has been called, brings out the big guns in the shape of poet laureate Dr. Maya Angelou, narrating over a gallery of iPhone users of different ages, ethnicities, and genders.
As Dr. Angelou reads out her poem “Human Family”, eighteen photos and videos of people from around the world – all taken using an iPhone, naturally – cycle through.
The goal, Apple says, is to illustrate that while we have our differences, nonetheless we’re more alike each other than we are unalike.
Apple’s commercials have, in recent years, typically fallen into one of two categories. On the one hand there’s the demo style: picking out a particular feature of a product, such as Siri or iMovie on iPhone, and encapsulating how it can be useful in everyday life.
The other category – which “Human Family” certainly falls into – is more esoteric, aiming more to evoke feelings than explain a certain ability or push a particular device.
It’s a turnaround from the last Olympics adverts Apple broadcast. Back in 2012, during the London games, the company debuted a trio of commercials featuring a Genius Bar employee – or, at least, an actor portraying one – talking a novice Mac owner through features of his new computer.
Response to the three spots proved to be mixed at the time, and soon after they were pulled.
Fast forward four years to today, and Apple’s message has changed considerably. The company has featured users’ photography extensively in a series of high-profile billboards around the country, with the “Shot on iPhone” campaign showcasing just what’s possible with the camera on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
The style, not to mention the idea of celebrating difference and equality, certainly fits more with the ethos of the Olympic games, though of course most Apple fans are holding their breath to see, not what the current iPhone is capable of, but what’s in store for the next-generation handset.
That, the iPhone 7, is expected to make its debut in just a few months.