Apple’s Mac-centric ad with A R Rahman - fab or drab?

A fifty-second long video features music composer A R Rahman who has become the first Indian to be featured in an Apple ad

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 8:58 AM

Throughout its existence, Apple for many reasons has enjoyed an enthusiastic cult following. With its beautifully-designed and brilliantly-marketed products, it became the consumer power-brand of the 21st century. However, it was just a matter of time and the happy face on the screen of Apple Mac soon started to look more like a pained grimace. But just when everyone thought that the brand was faltering, it decided to throw its marketing muscle behind the Mac and launched a new ad campaign focused on it, carrying the tagline ‘Behind the Mac’. The ad campaign highlights a trio of creators who have used Mac to ‘make something wonderful’. A fifty-second long video features music composer A R Rahman who has become the first Indian to be featured in an Apple ad.

The creative

“Music has given me respect, love and so much of adulation, you know, it’s like a spiritual zone where I go in… If anything slows you down, it’s not good for your art,” Rahman is seen saying in the video. The music director is shown explaining why he chooses to work on Mac.

“Some people are traditionalists, and that is fine because then the tradition actually lives along. But I am actually a rebel,” he says. By the end of the sentence, the screen flashes these words, “AR Rahman’s compositions have changed the way the world thinks of Indian music”.

Ad review

Anusheela Saha, Group Creative Director, FCB Ulka feels that the campaign addresses a beautiful thing about creators - to make or create things on one’s own terms and how the Mac enables them. Saha loves the fact that how the creators and the product both stand together in the spotlight in the campaign.” It effortlessly addresses the close bond that the brand shares with those who make. The campaign details out the many ways creative professionals use Mac to accomplish their work across a range of very different disciplines, from music to app development. I actually love how the ads are made to show and not ‘tell’ a Mac's ability to augment and facilitate the creative process, it’s a brilliant way to talk about a products’ features,” she says.

Amit Shankar, National Creative Director, Publicis Capital feels that the brand is trying to do something very organic in the consumer space and the ad with the music composer is very engaging and simplified one. “I like the simplicity of how Mac helps people who are masters in their field and enables them to achieve what they want to create,” says Shankar.

Aditya Kilpady, National Planning Director, Dentsu Impact points out that the holy grail of Apple communication over decades has been product as hero with focus on benefits, not features and the ability to convey it in a compelling manner. “It’s hard to find a fault with any Apple communication. But this time, let me be brave enough to make an exception,” he acknowledges.

Kilpady reasons that what’s perhaps missing in this campaign is knowing how the Mac hardware has improved to meet the expectations of creators creating content. “A quick glance through tech-blogs will reveal how these same content creators have thrashed the Mac hardware, their fragile keyboards and ill-conceived touch bars. What would have been wonderful if they kept the narrative on the Mac, it’s benefits and how people can make wonderful things,” he reasons.

According to Deep Mehta, Co-Founder, Digichefs, the communication is smart. “I think the ads are a smart way to introduce Mac to newer target markets who otherwise may never consider the need for a Mac as their first choice of personal computer. Mac which currently stands for more of a symbol for "success" (debatable), is trying too hard to get into the mass by introducing the value it creates in the life of its users, which I believe is thoughtful at this stage for the brand. Thumbs up for the campaign,” he says.

Shekhar Mhaskar, EVP, Isobar also agrees that the film is quite captivating and compels the viewer to watch it till the end. "I think advertising should talk to people about the benefits they get out of a product, and not the features per se. And coming from Apple, there’s no iota of doubt left,” says Mhaskar.

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