If you watch television, you’ve probably seen Apple’s new holiday spot. If not, here’s the cheese:
It works because it’s a simple human story, something in short supply these days.
The young woman is rummaging through her granny’s vinyl collection and comes across a Voice-O-Graph. This is a recording the grandmother had made in 1952 for Raymond, her lover who was off to war. The granddaughter turns on the old analog stereo receiver and drops the needle on the Voice-O-Graph. We hear that distinctive sound of a needle etching its way across vinyl, a sound that is absent in today’s all digital crystal clear audio world. That sound, that imperfect sound, connects on an emotional level because it has warmth and tonal resonance. For anyone familiar with vinyl, that sound of a needle on a record is hardwired to our innocence.
We hear the young woman speak to her soldier. “My darling Raymond, though you can’t be here for the holidays, we’ll always be together in my heart.” Then, the young woman begins singing “Our Love Is Here To Stay” by George and Ira Gershwin. The granddaughter is moved.
She takes the Voice-O-Graph and digitizes into her Apple Air. She accompanies her grandmother’s voice from 1952 with guitars a keyboard and her own voice.
The granddaughter plays Santa and leaves an iPad Air with earbuds on the kitchen table along with a card reading “‘A duet’ press play.” We see modern granny as she listens to the composition of her young self accompanied by her granddaughter and views the collection of black and white photos that have been left for her. She views the pictures as she listens. There she is, as a young woman. There is her soldier. There is their daughter as a little girl dressed up and standing by the Christmas tree. There is the proud young woman granny once was, standing with her freshly-pressed Voice-O-Graph.
The granddaughter did not make a movie of the pictures and marry them to the song. That would have reduced the story to a screen. No, we see the grandmother handling physical B&W pictures as she listens to the soundtrack enjoying the movies of memories in her head. We can’t see these memories but we read her reactions to them on her face. She is touched. We are touched. The woman who plays grandma plays her perfectly, not milking the emotions but allowing them to wash over her in fond reflections.
The granddaughter sits on the stairs and watches granny at the kitchen table. Although she can’t see her face, she’s happy that she has delivered a perfect Christmas gift–– a personal one built on a moment from 62 years ago (one that was hidden in a stack of old records), digitized and improved thanks to her love for her grandmother.
What does this spot say about Apple? It says that this company makes technology that enables magic moments like this. Add your creativity and make something special.
The gift is not the product, it’s the humanity one brings to others thanks to the product(s).
So, couldn’t any number of companies have created this spot? Absolutely. But they didn’t. They’re too busy comparing themselves and their products to Apple.
This is another holiday classic, like last year’s Apple spot “Misunderstood” (see below). Congrats to everyone involved with these spots. You are proving that in an age where we live in front of screens, we can still create magic to move and touch people.