On Tuesday, Apple dropped a new ad for the all-new iPad Pro. It shows a strategically bundled collection of creative tools—things like turntables, a piano, trumpet, cans of paint, a sculptured bust, an old arcade game, a mannequin for fashion design, a writing desk, camera lenses . . . all piled up in an industrial crusher. 

Then, to the melancholy tune of Sonny & Cher’s “All I Ever Need Is You,” all of these things are slowly and completely crushed into oblivion. Well, not quite oblivion—they were actually crushed into the new iPad Pro.

Created in-house by Apple’s own creative team, the aim of the spot is to illustrate just how many amazing creative tools and possibilities are accessible in the new iPad. All of this, into this. Simple.

Why the new iPad Pro ad got people so mad

But, it’s not quite that simple. As was very clear almost as soon as Apple CEO Tim Cook posted it on X, people were not impressed with the ad‘s message. Many accused the brand of being tone-deaf and alienating creative professionals—the very people Apple wants the ad to reach. Others expressed sadness that Apple chose to tear down useful, practical tools in order to elevate its own.

The not-so subtext here is that at a time when there is a lot of concern, discussion, and argument around the increasing role of technology—particularly AI—in creative work across music, movies, art, fashion, and more, here is Apple using visceral destruction to demonstrate the superiority of that technology.

Context is everything

The film production and practical effects are actually a lot of fun, and brought back fond memories of classic spots like Sony’s 2005 spot “Balls” and Honda’s “Cog” from 2003.

But there is a big difference between those and the new iPad Pro ad. While both “Balls” and “Cog” utilize wonderful practical effects with everyday objects, they do so with a sense of joy and wonder. Whether it’s Honda’s Rube Goldberg or Sony’s colorful takeover of San Francisco streets, each represents a building crescendo of small things coming together to collectively form something much bigger.

By contrast, “Crush” conveys the feeling of loss. (The name alone connotes dominance and ruin!) Collecting all of these wonderful tools and taking them away. The creative equivalent of trying to replace a wonderful restaurant meal experience with a single pill. And in the process, removing all the magic. 

This is a beautifully composed ad that has a very simple message: Look at all the cool stuff we can fit in here! But context is a crucial element to any great ad. And the current discourse around the role of technology in creative work means that “Crush” is being seen through that lens by many of the brand’s biggest fans. 

The general public, or those that don’t treat Apple like a tech equivalent to Taylor Swift or the Dallas Cowboys, probably won’t care or notice. But a spot like this is aimed at building and deepening the emotional connection between the brand and its superfans. The ones who do care.

The first line Cher sings is “Sometimes when I’m down and all alone.” And unfortunately for Apple, that’s how this ad made a lot of its most vocal fans feel. 


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