Apple's first India-centric spot for iPhone 6 grabs attention

By Aakriti Shrivastava , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | July 23, 2015
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The ad film has been created for Ingram Micro, Apple's distributor in this market, by Leo Burnett India.

'The only thing you can't do, is ignore them', said a very famous Apple commercial about thinkers. Its latest communication too is hard to ignore. iPhone's first India specific commercial has been created for the brand's distributor in India, Ingram Micro, by Leo Burnett India.

The agency has weaved a story around the aspirational product and the country's favourite 'festival' - big fat weddings. The ad is a virtual peek-a-boo, featuring a bride and groom as they approach the big moment of the wedding. The commercial highlights iPhone's camera, video (Facetime) and messaging features as the two protagonists click pictures and video chat. The TVC ends as the groom finally sees his beloved, and a voice over says 'We know how hard it is to wait for something special', in sync with the message of the iPhone 6 being available on EMI.

iPhone is seen as a premium device, owing to its high pricing. Currently, the iPhone 6 is priced at about Rs. 43,000 in India.

Apple enough?

While this ad talks to the Indian audiences in an Indian setting, subtly conveying that it's easy to own an iPhone now, does it have the ingredients of an Apple ad? Here's what the ad world thinks:

Malvika Mehra

Vinay Kanchan

Jitendra Dabas

Malvika Mehra, ex-NCD, Grey Worldwide India, says that the intended message comes through pretty clearly, so the ad serves the purpose of making it more accessible.

"This is not an Apple ad to begin with, so its not fair to compare it to the brand's previous communication. Having said that, this ad does take the brand's 'exclusivity' down," she adds.

As the Indian mobile market diversifies, Mehra says, "The fact that there is an option in this market to buy a good phone, at an affordable price, taking it down a couple notches, to get the volume, makes business sense for Apple. Other than that, someone who loves the product will buy it anyway."

Brand Ideation Consultant, Vinay Kanchan, is of the opinion that the core philosophy of the mother-brand, Apple, doesn't come through in the ad.

Talking about whether this ad would affect the brand in any way, he says, "I don't think one commercial can take away the sheen from Apple. It doesn't damage anything, but it doesn't build on the brand, it's a sales oriented commercial."

Jitendra Dabas, EVP and head of planning, McCann Worldgroup, agrees. "Apple's advertising is minimalistic and matter-of-fact, so, this commercial is inconsistent with that persona. This one seems to be tugging at the heartstrings of Indians, a very Nokia way of advertising. As per social media response, core iPhone lovers seem to be disappointed by the ad."

Dabas further says that while the ad makes for a good communication for the EMI offer, given a choice, he would have done it the Apple way.

Apple's other communication

While Apple is not a very big advertiser in India, international campaigns by the company have been launched in the country. Most of the brand's communication has been simplistic and feature-oriented, yet classy.

The recent 'Shot on iPhone 6' campaign sourced videos and images clicked by users as a proof of the superior camera quality of the phone. While the images have been used in OOH ads, the videos are used as television spots.

It is interesting to note that while the iPhone 6 ads bring out its impeccable camera quality, the campaign for the previous generation iPhone 5c was driven by the colourful personalities of its users. The ad was executed internationally, with multi-lingual inputs, but it was promoted in the Indian market as well.

The infamous 'If you don't have an iPhone' ad, was one of the first Apple ads to be aired in India. In line with its simple and crisp approach, the ad talks about the phone's features, emphasising that there is no substitute to the iPhone. Recall that Indian brands like Micromax and Karbonn cashed in on this and released similar ads to mock the iPhone.

Apple has now extended the above mentioned campaign as an international ad series. The message in the end has been changed to 'If it's not an iPhone, it's not an iPhone'. The ads in the series are also similar, focussing on the product features and how the users love them.

However, this simplicity has not always been a part of Apple's advertising. On the contrary, the brand's most famous commercials, which the ad gurus swear by, have been high on drama and emotion. What stays same is how the Apple ads still stand out.

For instance, the '1984' ad, based on George Orwell's classic by the same name, projected the launch of Macintosh as the 'dawn of a revolution'.

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