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  • 23 Jun, 2024

Apple Apologizes for Controversial Piano Ad

Apple Apologizes for Controversial Piano Ad

Apple issued an apology following the backlash over an advertisement showcasing various objects, including musical instruments and books, being crushed by a hydraulic press.

In a statement released to marketing publication Ad Age, Apple acknowledged that the ad did not meet its aim of empowering and celebrating creatives. The company expressed regret for the oversight.

The video was intended to illustrate how creativity has been condensed into the latest iPad. However, celebrities like Hugh Grant and Justine Bateman reacted negatively to the destruction depicted in the ad.

Tor Myhren, Apple’s VP of marketing communications, stated, "Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad. We missed the mark with this video, and we’re sorry."

Apple CEO Tim Cook faced criticism for his remarks on X (formerly Twitter) about the device, where he encouraged people to "imagine all the things it’ll be used to create."

While the advert aimed to showcase the capabilities of Apple's latest tablet, including watching TV shows, listening to music, and playing video games, it also utilized a theme of crushing musical instruments that have been around for almost a decade.

However, critics argued that the ad inadvertently highlighted how technology may stifle creativity rather than nurture it, further tarnishing Apple's reputation.

Actor Hugh Grant labeled it as "the destruction of the human experience, courtesy of Silicon Valley," while Justine Bateman, an advocate against the use of AI in the film industry, criticized Apple for "crushing the arts."

Songwriter Crispin Hunt likened the act of destroying musical instruments to burning books, emphasizing the symbolism of artistic suppression.

The responses to Mr. Cook's post on X have been overwhelmingly negative, with one individual describing it as "highly inappropriate" and another expressing feeling "embarrassed to support Apple products."

Criticism, notably from individuals in Japan, has been particularly vocal, with some highlighting a perceived lack of respect.

Certain comments referenced the concept of "tsukumogami" from Japanese folklore, which describes tools believed to possess their own spirit or soul.

Explaining their perspective, one commenter stated, "The act of destroying tools is disrespectful and offensive to us Japanese," while another emphasized that musicians often cherish their instruments "even more than life itself."

The video has sparked unfavorable parallels with one of Apple's most iconic advertisements from 1984.

In a homage to its release year (and George Orwell's novel), the ad portrays an athlete rebelling against a dystopian future.

One commenter remarked that the new ad was "practically the complete opposite" of the original, while another suggested it portrayed Apple as "the very embodiment of the faceless cultural force they opposed in 1984."

To another observer, it served as "a symbolic bookend" to the original advertisement, both visually and metaphorically.