The Norman Transcript

Columns

December 31, 2013

Apple bites into holiday humanity

NORMAN — Misunderstood.

It’s a word we use to make ourselves feel better. It’s a virtual anthem to teenagers. And it is the latest marketing maneuver by Apple, which seeks to own Christmas in a way not even the Grinch imagined.

By now you have no doubt seen Apple’s latest TV commercial (which actually is titled “Misunderstood”). It has been running all holiday season. At 90 seconds, it’s hard to miss.

It depicts a family coming together for Christmas and one sweet-faced loner of a teenager (think the older brother from “Little Miss Sunshine”) who is always on his iPhone.

When the family unloads the car, he’s on the screen. When the family decorates the tree, he’s on the screen. Sledding, skating, making snowmen — he’s on the screen. Nobody gets too mad at him.

Occasionally, family members tease him (a grandfather-type playfully tosses a towel in his face), but for the most part, the kid keeps returning to his device, and by halfway through the spot, parents are thinking, “Hey, I know this kid. He’s our middle one, right?”

But then comes the kicker. With the family gathered in one room, the teenager turns off the TV, presses something on his phone, and the big screen alights with a video he has been making of family moments, behind the sparse and haunting singing of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

The images are deliberately moving — children, family, snow angels, all seemingly shot by a professional cinematographer (which of course, the teen prodigy will one day be) — and by the end, the whole family is crying and hugging the “misunderstood” teen, whose face is sweet enough to forgive a felony, let alone missing precious holiday moments while working on something clearly more important — an iMovie of those moments.

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