Apple Sorry for iPad Pro M4 Ad That ‘Missed the Mark’

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Key Takeaways

  • Apple has apologized for its "Crush" iPad Pro M4 ad.
  • Creatives felt it was insensitive to their experience.
  • The response isn't likely to significantly dent sales.

Apple has apologized for an iPad Pro M4 ad, “Crush,” that drew many complaints from creatives.

In a statement to Ad Age, Apple marketing VP Tor Myhren said the company was “sorry” for the commercial, which “missed the mark.”

“Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad,” Myhren said. The ad remained viewable online as of this writing.

The roughly minute-long promo shows a hydraulic press crushing computers, musical instruments, an arcade cabinet, and even emoji. When the press lifts, all that’s seen is the iPad Pro. The intent was to show how the new high-end tablet can handle many creative tasks despite being exceptionally thin.

Artists, however, felt the ad was tone deaf. Actor Hugh Grant said it was a “destruction of human experience,” while The Handmaid’s Tale series director Reed Morano called the promo “psychotic.” In general, the creative community has argued that the commercial devalued the ‘analog’ tools and experiences of their trade.

The iPad Pro ad and its fallout represent a rare misstep in Apple’s marketing in the modern era. The company drew notoriety in 1985 when its “Lemmings” Super Bowl ad effectively insulted business customers by calling them blind followers who’d jump off a cliff.  Some partly credit it with the turmoil that led to Steve Jobs’ ouster from Apple.

Many of Apple’s other ad campaigns have been successes that helped define the brand, including its HAL 9000-inspired return to Super Bowl advertising, the iPod silhouette ads, and the “there’s an app for that” iPhone spots.

The iPad Pro ad response is unlikely to significantly impact sales. However, it might prompt a change in strategy. It’s also a reminder that even larger technology companies aren’t immune to marketing mistakes.