Let us Revisit Apple’s Big News in 108 Seconds and Why it is so Genius

Tiana Meador

Apples Big News in 108 Seconds which hit television screens, YouTube and social media all across the world on Sep. 12, 2018 and separately of the rest, has alone garnered 25.7 million views on YouTube. For ease of viewing, I added to those YouTube numbers, however I first viewed the ad on television. This ad features the fast paced beats of ODESZA’s hit single Loyal, which also debuted the day the video dropped. Along with the music, there are fast graphics that move scene through scene while rapidly paralleling events, highlighting Alexeydrummer, Drake, Animoji, augmented reality, racially inclusive characters, and additions to the Apple Watch for active consumers. Not to mention, the ad constantly boasts about its Retina updates, better usage of color, better cameras, core chips, and the new ECG feature to the Apple Watch 4.

The major audience that this ad jumped towards was affluent millennials, with the last half of it going more in depth to target healthy, driven individuals. Viewing this content from a historical perspective, it has always been more tech-driven, up-to-date, trendy individuals who purchase iPhones, and that is what Apple decided to harrow in on, their most impressionable audience. Apple is a huge corporation, garnering $265.6 billion in revenues, and although we may be quick to say that they are money-hungry fiends, their mission statements circle around the most revolutionary, up-to-date music deliveries, superior product quality, and stellar service in tight time frames (Apple). The jumpiness of the ad is quick and to the point, much like serving as a historical testament to how quickly the “most recent” version of the phone goes out of date, or how quick Apple is to update. People who are constantly scrolling through Instagram to get the most likes on a beautifully shot image, or digging their noses into their phone looking for the best experience that you can receive in a three by five some odd sized screen. Displaying this video on YouTube can quite frankly attest to what audience they were trying to grasp, as in a 2018 study done by the PEW Research Foundation, it was found that 76 percent of higher educated (and consequently higher paid) Americans between the ages of 18 and 35 use social media solely on smartphones (Global Technology Use).

Moving on to a more technical view, Apple strategically implements these ‘hype’ ads prior to product release to generate the largest surge of buys the company sees in their quarterly reports by Q1 (Statista). Now although they release these ads near the end of Q3, it is to be understood that pre-order usually does not start processing until mid-Q4, and then partnering with their release of their new Macs in Q1(the very product that the company is essentially built upon), in the middle of the holiday season, they get their biggest spike (Statista). These hype ads also implement the idea of Apple being the tech industry’s strong horse, as the buildup for the release is entirely over-the-top. The entire timing, release, span of preorder and partnering of products with holiday seasons is at its very core, strategically genius. By planting the idea in those who may not have the money in September, their hype videos stick with the consumer until “treat yourself” season rolls around, and so do holiday bonuses. 

Furthermore, this ad lacks cultural references, but does not hesitate by any means to explore, “what will make you valuable to your peers.” The ad is dope, lets not lie. But behind all the coolness of it, are all these hype-y images that incorporate, for example, the use of Group FaceTime, which is only available through the Apple-specific app. This therefore implies that in order to sustain conversation and face-to-face connection with numerous friends, you will need to purchase an iPhone for yourself to get the experience. Moreover, the ad has many exercise references near the end, which highlight a lifestyle that a good majority of their target audience wants- a fit, healthy, Instagrammable one, such as the rock climbing scene, which yes, for your information, was very “Instagrammable.” The usage of beautiful, hipster-y, and racially unique characters was also explored, not only because of the ability to reach a more diverse audience, but because the usage of such characters is more culturally relevant to millenials, not to mention this takes an oddly utilitarian approach, displaying it was good for everyone. The ad definitely plays on hedonism as well, as it is to-the-point, and puts pressure on the consumer to buy it for themselves, as the pressure of preorder is iminent.

Finally, as the design gods they are, Apple did not hesitate to flaunt their abilities in the superior graphics department. Back on my previous point, they implemented fast paced graphics that moved scene through scene while rapidly paralleling events, set to ODESZA’s track, Loyal. ODESZA is known for their euphoric EDM music, which is known to put people into excited, feel-good type moods. Just visit an EDM music festival for yourself, and you will see the effects. Pairing their mood with the implementation of entirely digitally renered circulations of the iPhone’s design, colors that only appear once the iPhone XR is unveiled (prior to this they used muted, tan colors to parallel the iPhone XS’s gold color), and realistic tosses of liquids, the commercial gradually built up. The engineer scene relied heavily on humor, in which he almost cussed, which tapped into millennial humor, but when placed against the fast graphics and music, it was almost too quick for the viewer to perceive that statistics he listed (which in turn causes consumers to revisit it and up the chances of them remembering). Where the music-graphic approach harmonizes is when Apple goes through their stunning portraits, which are all Rule of Thirds framed and highly saturated, then directly leads into the Apple Watch, hyping the viewer with heartbeat notes, and actions that hit on every beat of Loyal. This animalistic pairing nearly brings goosebumps to viewers, since the entire commercial built and peaked- which by the end, they cut the commercial just before ODESZA’s song could finish the final note, which is frustrating, but causes people to ‘mentally finish’ the song. I would assert that this is a creative psychological technique to make it stick, and if it is, well it worked on me.

In my opinion, the whole delivery of this commercial was genius. Business-wise. Culturally-wise. Target audience-wise. Creatively. Apple not only purposely included their target audience, diverse millennials, in the advertisement itself, but they explored all their interests as well- gaming, photography, health, connecting. But Apple did not just stop there- they united all of this content with strategic color approaches set to the theme of the device being explored, united specific shots to notes of the beat, purposely used a hyped up song to grasp attention, and whipped the viewer through a rollercoaster that not only left them with a high heart rate and goosebumps, but a want to rewatch, and buy the product. It is terribly compelling, a detriment to my wallet, but entirely worth the watch. I wish they had finished the song at the end instead of giving me an annoying little Animoji of Tim Cook- but that is besides the point, they wrapped so much “big news” into 108 seconds, tore me through it and left me wanting more. Quite frankly, I cannot wait to see if they can top this one, Apple nailed their target audience right on the head, and they have the sales to prove it.