Dumb iPhone Commercial Of The Week (Plus, Dell Discovers Devo) - InformationWeek

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10/21/2007
09:28 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Dumb iPhone Commercial Of The Week (Plus, Dell Discovers Devo)

So now the iPhone helps a pilot bust his plane out of a 3-hour tarmac delay by enabling him to surf to Weather.com? That's the preposterous story line of Apple's latest commercial, which was inescapable on Sunday whether you were watching football during the day on FOX and CBS, or game seven of the American League Championship Season in the evening.

So now the iPhone helps a pilot bust his plane out of a 3-hour tarmac delay by enabling him to surf to Weather.com? That's the preposterous story line of Apple's latest commercial, which was inescapable on Sunday whether you were watching football during the day on FOX and CBS, or game seven of the American League Championship Season in the evening.At least for new "fatty" iPod Nanos, Apple took the soft sell approach, enlisting the charming Feist ditty 1234 in a meta-music-video.

No such luck with the latest iPhone commercial. This one has some guy who's supposed to be a pilot, telling us his iPhone got him to a weather report which said the storm was breaking, so he "called the tower," and within a half hour, he was on his way.

Even if that scenario were believable, who is it aimed at? The subgroup of the potential iPhone buying public who has commercial aviation licenses? I much preferred the original iPhone ads, which pulled the wool over everyone's eyes by grossing inflating the Web-surfing speed of the EDGE network, and let it at that.

Here's the iPhone "Fly Me" commercial, courtesy of YouTube:

What's next? Steve Jobs friend Larry Ellison enlisting the iPhone to help him steer around a squall during the America's Cup?

It's not just Apple that does difficult-to-fathom commercials. Dell's ads for its XPS laptops were also in heavy rotation Sunday. They provide clear confirmation that late-forty-somethings have ascended to the senior vice president level at ad agencies, where they are in a position to green-light the creative. How else to explain that so many current plugs are set to music which was popular 30 years ago? (The connection is, that's when those execs were in high school.)

It's the same age disconnection between vendor and audience which drove me nuts in the 1970s, when you had all these cars ads soundtracked to Sinatra music. It was as if the folks BBDBDOXYZ (or whatever the acronym of the agency in question) had never heard of the Beatles.

Similarly, I can't imagine that the college kids targeted by the new Dell ads give a collective flower-pot on top of their heads about Devo. (If you understand that reference, you're dating yourself, as do I.)

Here's the ad I call "Dell Does Devo":

More than either of those two, my favorite commercial to hate is the idiotic Monster.com ad also currently tearing up the airwaves from over-repetition. Unfortunately, YouTube fails me here, perhaps because there's no redeeming amusement factor which inspired some copyright-violator-wannabe to upload it.

Still, I'm sure you know the ad. It's the one where a too-perky young woman asks in the voiceover: "What are you working for?" Pause. "Is it the deal?"

This one also has a soundtrack, though more antediluvian than the Devo. It's Paul Rogers of Free wailing away on the 1970 hit "Alright Now." Since the song is about a one-night stand, told from a male point of view that wouldn't be out of place in Mad Men, one wonders how it ended up in a commercial about the modern workplace. Really, it's more appropriate for a role-playing scenario in a harassment seminar that it is as a hiring come-on.

As for the question posed at the outset of the Monster.com commercial, the correct answer is of course: No, doofus, the paycheck.

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