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This article was published on July 10, 2015

Apple has forgotten how to sell the iPhone

Apple has forgotten how to sell the iPhone
Owen Williams
Story by

Owen Williams

Former TNW employee

Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

Apple has new a pair of new ads for the iPhone. I watched them, and realized that even Apple has no idea how to sell the phone anymore — it’s lost the magic of its earlier advertising.

Here are the two ad spots:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl3PlrPq8sw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JnWCSyXLC8

“If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone.” Seriously?

Apple has forgotten how to tell the story of why its own devices are awesome. Remember those great iPhone 5 advertisements that didn’t tell you anything about the device?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZGzXEExZcc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1QLMHgX_VU

These ads were powerful, because they stood out among the noisy, loud competitors on TV and sold the devices on how they can enrich your life.

They followed the formula established in earlier ads, like this one for the iPhone 4S from 2011.

That formula worked and was compelling.

The new ad campaign doesn’t tell you anything in particular. It doesn’t say how the iPhone is going to make your life any better, it just has a cheesy tagline.

Apple moved some of its advertising in-house last year and began creating its own TV spots instead of using its long-standing partnership with TBWA\Chiat\Day.

It might be easier and cheaper to have an internal ad agency, but it doesn’t seem to be helping the company explain to the world why iPhone is so compelling.

What’s interesting is the ‘Shot on iPhone 6’ campaign still seems to capture the original spirit of Apple’s advertising.

Has Apple forgotten how to sell the iPhone to people, at least on TV?

I think it has, and maybe it doesn’t matter, but it’s a big shift for a company that told the story of why iPhone would change your life, not simply saying “oh it’s an iPhone.”

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