Apple’s New iPad Ad Sparks Loud, Immediate Backlash

Apple’s New iPad Ad Sparks Loud, Immediate Backlash

Sometimes, you get blatant reminders of how much disregard big tech has for, well, everything. Whether that’s exorbitant spending on acquisitions, layoffs of hundreds to thousands of people, and refusing to release or delist its employees’ hard work for a tax write-off. But now and then, you get all that callousness displayed in a succinct package. That’s what happened with Apple’s latest iPad Pro commercial.

The minute-long ad titled “Crush!” shows myriad items, such as musical instruments, paint buckets, a TV, and much more, all sitting under a hydraulic press. Anyone who’s scrolled through TikTok probably has an idea where this is going. The press is turned on and crushes thousands of dollars worth of creative tools and supplies. There’s also an arcade cabinet for a legally distinct Space Invaders, and a porcelain Angry Bird, so video games are not exempt from the carnage. Sure, there are some visually striking moments, like when the paint cans get squashed over a piano and their vibrant colors trickle down. It’s evocative of all the viral hydraulic press videos you see on TikTok. That’s probably what Apple was going for. But it hits differently when a trillion-dollar tech corporation destroys creative supplies for the meme.


After the press rises back up again, the result is a lone iPad Pro on a completely clean floor. The intent is obvious. Apple wants to communicate that all these creative tools and works are available within the tiny tablet. But the visual of countless instruments, statues, and other pieces of art being destroyed to make this point doesn’t sit well with me, or most people, for that matter. Apple may have turned off comments on the YouTube video, but scroll through the responses to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s post with the ad and you’ll see a lot of folks genuinely upset that all this destruction happened in service of promoting an iPad. That piano and those buckets of paint could have been donated to people who could have used it for good. Now, they’ve been annihilated in a public execution as if the next iPad desperately needs a viral moment for people to buy it.

If nothing else, the visceral viewer reaction to the ad is heartening because it’s a reminder that maybe, just maybe, we’re finally entering an era in which the average person sees through all the brand loyalty these corporations have sewn throughout the years, and sees these companies for what they are. It certainly felt like we had a moment of that yesterday as Microsoft shut down Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, and Alpha Dog Games, and nearly everyone was on the same page about how fucked up it was. It feels like the mask is coming off, little by little.

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