Brand Storytelling: Apple's Happy Holidays Behind-the-Scenes

For the second year in a row Apple has sent us scurrying for a tissue while watching their holiday commercial. This year’s installment, The Song, captures the essence of a beautiful relationship between an elderly woman, her lifelong love and her grand-daughter.

Remind yourself that this is an Apple commercial, yet never once did we hear Apple tell us how wonderful their products are.

In fact, that pretty much sums up Apple’s brand archetype: they create magical products that transform our lives, but they let us discover the products for ourselves. In The Song we see the granddaughter creating music using the tools Apple provides, but Apple never overtly tells us to go buy their products. Instead, we want to buy them because we see what they can do.

Apple gives their customers credit — they assume we are thinking, creative and thoughtful consumers of their products.

Contrast Apple’s Christmas ad with Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 ad below.

In the Winter Wonderland ad ever feature and benefit gets pointed out to the viewer. I have friends who are big Surface Pro 3 fans, and they do indeed love all those features and benefits. But the ad is an ear-worm of the nastiest sort: it assaults your ears and sticks in your brain, only to come tumbling out at the worst possible moment! For a clear illustration of this, search for the Surface Pro 3 Winter Wonderland ad on YouTube. The second search result is a little girl named Carson, glibly rattling off the lyrics to the ad.

In spite of the fact that these two ads play on national television — surely the most “outbound” form of advertising there is — Apple’s ad clearly illustrates the principles of  Inbound Marketing. It is attractional, educational and informative without slapping us across the face.

We consumers are persistent. When we want information, we find it. We pursue the links, we  watch the videos, we ask our friends and we persist until we understand what we want to know.

And we have said this over and over: when brands compete, STORY WINS.

By the way, want to know more about the Apple ad? Watch the behind the scenes footage below. I loved the passion of the musicians in crafting this story.

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