One obvious effect of the Covid-19 pandemic is that most people's lives are a lot more cobbled together than they used to be—a lot less intentionally designed. From grocery shopping to childcare to our physical and mental health, we do the best we can with what we have. Often, it isn't pretty.
But it is creative. People around the world have found artful workarounds for all sorts of obstacles, and creative ways to express the fear and sorrow we've all been experiencing.
Now, Apple salutes the makeshift ingenuity of these extraordinary times with a commercial featuring some of the best-looking user-generated content you're ever likely to see. (What, did you think Apple would sacrifice its notoriously high production values just because of a pandemic?)
The spot, from TBWA\Media Arts Lab, accomplishes a neat trick. For one thing, practically speaking, it's not actually that relatable. Who among us is organizing high-end living-room photo shoots with our kids, crafting world-class zoetropes, or creating web shows watched by millions? Mostly, the spot depicts quarantine as experienced by the privileged.
Yet its emotional reality rings very true, which creates a feel-good sheen everyone can get behind. A lot of brands—from sports leagues to broadcast networks to consumer goods companies—have been airing more homemade productions, partly out of necessity but also as a kind of gesture of solidarity. Apple rejects this approach, preferring to focus its typical luxury lens on the lockdown.
The result, weirdly, is both exclusive and universal—aspirational and relatable.
Also note the product shots, which are literally everywhere in the commercial. As other brands largely pull back from sales pitches, Apple stays the course. Indeed, this work is right in line with its other "Behind the Mac" spots. We didn't know we wanted luxury product shots at the moment. Turns out we do! (At least, from Apple.)
In this way, perhaps the spot just offers a bit of normalcy. As Apple works behind the scenes with Google to address the crisis in more serious ways, its brand advertising—always well crafted, always reassuring—gives us a measure of familiarity and comfort as we eye the light at the end of the tunnel.