Beautiful New Ads for the Apple iPad – Real People, Real Stories

image ipad marketing advertisements
I love the latest set of Apple advertisements for the iPad.

One of the tough aspects of marketing a tablet is what many writers have referred to as “a solution in search of a problem”.

Tablets are too big to be a smartphone, lack the keyboard for lots of typing, have too much glare (and not enough battery) to be a real e-reader. So, what exactly is a tablet for?

My last Linkedin post talked about the problems Toshiba was having in marketing their tablet+keyboard combo – none of the usage scenarios they depicted in the ad were realistic. Is it really that hard to show how people can use a tablet?

Apple tackles this head-on in their beautiful new series of iPad ads. They take real people and show how their iPads fit into their daily routines (and help them to be successful).

Why are these ads so powerful?

  1. They show real people actually living their lives
  2. They show the tablets being used in situations that would be awkward for either a smartphone or a laptop
  3. They show creative, aspirational uses of technology. This is how we want to use our gadgets – for creating, for capturing inspiration, for becoming successful, not for checking email between meetings or watching videos in bed.

Yaoband’s Verse

This video follows chinese electro musicians Yaoband as they use their iPads to record the sounds of nature and cities – the resonance of a temple bell, the bubbling of a stream of water, the clack of billiard balls. Sounds that they integrate into their music. They also navigate, play games while traveling and share social updates.

Jason’s Verse

Detroit community activist Jason Hall uses his iPad to create visual social media updates on the go, to plan maps for his ‘slow city’ bike rides, to manage his calendar and to organize events.

These two videos, the first part of the series, were released a couple of months ago:

Chérie’s Verse

Travel writer Cherie King (who is deaf) uses her iPad to navigate the world with maps and spoken language translation and to share her experiences through text, photos and videos.

Esa-Pekka’s Verse

Composer and conductor Esa-Pekka (of the London and LA Philharmonic Orchestras) uses his iPad to compose music, capturing his moments of inspiration – anytime and anywhere.

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What do you think?

Do you find these ads inspiring? Do they make you think about how much more creative you could be with an iPad in your hands?

Clever Print Ad for Press Freedom – Information is Amunition

Clever execution by Juniper Park for Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. What looks like weapons are actual collections of camera, microphone and tripod parts.

I’m not really sure who exactly is going to see these ads (certainly not the general public) but I’m sure they have their own audience.

Possibly worth it just for the shares :-)




The difference between great and terrible advertising.

It’s simple – a clear, important message.

Great advertising has a clear, understandable message that is important to the target audience.

Terrible advertising doesn’t. Either the message is not clear, or is not important.

Here is a fantastic ad for Kimpton Hotels

The message is clear – we care and provide amazing, personalized service. The ad is fun, catchy, sharable and appeals perfectly to the target audience – people who want boutique hotels with a service focus.

Importantly, the ad sets up a real point of distinction  between Kimpton and their competitors: unmatchable service… “Who does that?”

The Kimpton’s video is also connected with a hashtag campaign #whodoesthat and #KimptonKarma and is part of a strategy that connects reward points with ‘engagement’, not just room bookings. Sharing your hotel experience on social media or using the hotel facilities during your stay can earn you extra reward points. Apparently there are hundreds of ‘customer behaviors’ that the hotel can take into account in creating reward treats for their guests.

Here is an example of a terrible ad for Toshiba’s new Click series of tablets/laptops

So much money spent on this and for what? The ad is instantly forgettable except for a couple of yuck factors: Using the back of your tablet as a food chopping board and the bit where the tablet drops through the lady’s head. Both made me shiver a bit.

What was the message? You can unclick your screen from the keyboard? This device fits into all aspects of your life?

The copy “unleash yourself” suggests that we are somehow tied up by having our screen attached to the keyboard, yet none of the scenarios that they show in the ad actually demonstrate a real use for a separable screen and keyboard.

Finally, there is nothing to differentiate this product from any other brand of tablets, light laptops, or combo tablet/laptop. Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo, Asus etc all have similar products.

 Making great ads

… is hard work. There is creativity, luck and timing involved. But it starts with the basics – understand your audience and what is important to them, define how your product solves their pain, illustrate the difference between your product and your competitors.

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Great PR stunt draws attention to a domestic violence hotline

Image - mixed gender MMA

I thought this was a fantastically executed campaign. In Brazil, a mixed martial arts competition announced the world’s first mixed gender fight – a man was to fight a woman!

The PR strategy combined with digital advertising to create a buzz that encouraged people to talk about the inherent unfairness of the bout. How can a man hit a woman?

Have a watch:

Understanding non-profit education

In India, the term ‘non-profit’ often creates confusion, especially in the area of education.

Non-profit does not mean that education should be free. It does not mean that education should be low-cost.

Non-profit means that all funds that come into the school, whether as fees or fundraising donations, HAVE to be spent within the school.

A non-profit school is set up as a trust or society, and therefore has no owners. The school has a board of trustees or members, who oversee the management of the school.

By contrast, a school that is created on a ‘for-profit’ basis is established as a company. A company has owners (shareholders) who have invested in the company with the intention of making money either through dividend payouts or through later selling their equity.

 To Summarize:

Non-profit – all student fees are spent within the school. There are no owners, no profit pay-outs to owners, and the school cannot be sold for profit.

For-profit – Student fees can be used for profit payouts to owners. The school can also be sold for profit.


I should note that, while I personally believe that education should be a non-profit endeavor, there are many great schools around the world that are operated for profit.

Ultimately, each student must decide for himself or herself – in which model do you believe?

Remember the Yellow Pages?

remember-yellow-pagesThinking back, the memory of using the Yellow Pages to find information seems crazy. Every time you wanted a number, you had to grab these huge books and search through them. You could only access numbers from your own city. There was no way to ascertain anything about the quality of the company – all you got was the information that the company chose to provide.

Companies, that wanted to be found, had little choice but to participate – going as far as naming themselves AAA COMPANY just to rise to the top of the alphabetical list.

Today we are awash with information.

We can easily find the details of companies all over the world, along with reviews and recommendations. We can easily compare prices from multiple vendors and complete much of our shopping without leaving home, should we desire to.

In the future though, we will look back at today and laugh about how primitive our technology was. How limited our access to information was.

Kids will find it hilarious when we tell them about ‘Googling’ for things. Or maybe about how we actually had to use a computer or smartphone – our brains couldn’t access the net directly back then. Or maybe that we had ‘webpages’.

It is exciting to wait and see.


New Andheri Cinema!


When I lived in Seven Bungalows, Mumbai, the Andheri cinemas (Cinemax, Fame and Fun) were a second home. I’d catch the new films during the week and the international and classic films early Sunday morning.

I loved going to Cinemax (very clean and great reclining seats). I loved going to Fun (crappy seats but there was ten pin bowling to kill time before the show).

I hated going to Fame. Fame was run down, I constantly ended up with broken seats, the sound was always too loud. Fame’s only strong points were that it had good Samosas and participated in 2-for-1 ticket schemes during the week.

But times are changing and Fame is now PVR and PVR makes beautiful cinemas. Yesterday they opened the new Andheri PVR in the place of the old Fame and it looks great. New screens, new sound and PVR’s Enhanced Cinema Experience (ECX).

Can’t wait to check it out. I wonder if they kept the samosas…

Indian Domestic Violence Campaign

This campaign has actually been around for a while, but I stumbled on it again recently. It’s such a wonderful concept, and I loved that they have tried transplanting it to other countries.

It is an interesting approach in encouraging others to interrupt. The more common approach for public service/safety messages is to directly target the perpetrator and show the consequences of their actions, however given how ingrained domestic violence is in Indian society, I can understand why this might not work.

Something I really liked was the range of emotions of the people who stepped up to interrupt the violence. Some of them were very nervous and tried to think of an excuse, others were confident and almost agressive in taking a stand.

Here are some of the videos:

A group of children use the excuse of looking for a cricket ball

A neighbor uses the excuse of returning a mis-delivered letter

A man rings his neighbors doorbell to ask the time.

This is one of my favorites – a man rings the doorbell to check if there is electricity in the house.

Another more confident example – a man goes to his neighbours house to ask for some milk, and then walks away.

This was the first of the ads to be released. This one features the wonderful actor Boman Irani.

Other Approaches in PSAs

Dangerous Driving

An Australian ad film. When young men drive dangerously, people use a hand signal to suggest that the men have small penises and are trying to compensate.

(As a humorous side note, a man later blamed this ad for his angry behaviour, as a woman made the gesture to him while driving.)

Drink Driving

This ad refers to people who drink and drive as ‘bloody idiots’ and tries to establish the regular use of the term to encourage friends to stop each other from drink driving.


Life of Pi – Globalisation in Action

Novel written by a Canadian author, Yann Martel

First screenplay by US screenwriter Dean Georgaris

First proposed director was Indian-born US resident M. Night Shyamalan

Second proposed director was Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón

Third proposed director was French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Final screenplay by US writer David Magee

Directed by a Taiwanese director, Ang Lee

Funded by a U.S. studio

Filmed in India and Taiwan

To release world-wide

Hopefully to win some Academy Awards :-)