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The Controversial iPad Pro Commercial That Forced Apple To Apologize

Sometimes, emphasizing the convenience of your product results in your company looking like it's championing the destruction of all human creativity in favor of technological dominance. That's how consumers greeted the 2024 ad for Apple's iPad Pro, which proved so divisive the company issued an apology in May. 

The ad, titled "Crush," features a hydraulic press crushing a pile of instruments, books, paint, and other ephemera. There's a statue resembling a character from the "Angry Birds" game, which was later turned into a star-studded animated comedy film that's since become a hit on Netflix. Balls bearing emoji-like expressions try to roll to safety, only to be squeezed to death with a loud pop. Multicolored floods of color from buckets of paint drip down the side of the press like blood, only for it to dry up and be puffed away like dust. The press then lifts, showing a new iPad Pro, into which all that information has been compressed.

"Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it's incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world. 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," said Apple marketing vice president Tor Myhren in a statement released by AdAge. The advertisement remains viewable on the company's YouTube page, though comments have been shut down. CEO Tim Cook's post on X, formerly known as Twitter, also remains intact. There's no word whether the commercial will be pulled from broadcast television. 

While the commercial for this ad met with disdain, Apple's usually a wiz at the commercial game.

Apple has put out iconic ads before

Apple has previously made waves with its advertising, but most of the press they've gotten before the release of the "Crush" ad has been positive. Consider the legendary Ridley Scott-directed "1984" ad, which uses visual motifs pulled from the book and movie version of "1984" to promote Apple as a colorful, non-burdensome alternative to lockstep tech companies.

Then there's the "Think Different" campaign, which used images of many geniuses in a variety of fields to encourage consumers to consider "thinking differently" and embracing Apple. Then there was the iPod silhouette campaign, which helped encourage consumers to embrace fresh digital music technology and turn away from portable CD and tape players. Even recent commercials like Timothée Chalamet's humorous promo for Apple TV+, where he tries to convince the streaming network to give him his very own documentary, had more spirit and originality to them. Hopefully, Apple's next campaign will lean in this legendary direction, instead of offending viewers who'd rather not have their creativity controlled.