Apple’s ‘Crush’ Ad for the New iPad Pros Is, Well, Getting Crushed

Todd Spangler, writing for Variety:

An Apple commercial for the new iPad Pro tablet showing an industrial press literally crushing a TV, musical instruments, books and more ignited an angry backlash among many in Hollywood and other creative industries.

The ad, titled “Crush!”, shows an array of various objects — including a record player, a piano, a guitar, an old TV set, cameras, a typewriter, books, paint cans and a classic arcade game machine — getting compressed into (voila!) the new iPad Pro. The spot is soundtracked to Sonny and Cher’s “All I Ever Need Is You.”

But the ad has been interpreted more as a visual depiction of the tech industry’s devastation of cultural industries. “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley,” actor Hugh Grant commented on X.

Personally, I didn’t think twice about this spot when it ran during the keynote yesterday. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. I sort of like seeing things get smashed, run over, or, best of all, dropped from rooftops, and that’s really all I took from it at the moment. But a lot of people find the spot unpleasant, if not downright disturbing, not because they’re bothered by seeing stuff get smushed but because of the implied message. To wit, as Grant quipped, that technology not only replaces analog instruments and objects of artistic expression, but destroys them.

Thought about that way, it’s clearly a mistake — the vivisection of technology and liberal arts.

The best response is this “fixed it for you” version from filmmaker Reza Sixo Safai, simply running the commercial backwards (and choosing a better Sonny and Cher song). Same message, but emphasizing creation rather than destruction.

Wednesday, 8 May 2024