Sadly, Apple's 'Crush!' Ad Smashed Creative Spirits Worldwide

This one didn't go as planned

The company that Steve Jobs built released a new ad this week that has creatives up in arms. The spot shows a hydraulic press flattening musical instruments, paint cans, toys, TV sets, production equipment, arcade games and even books.

After the huge machine destroys everything in its maw, a new, thinner iPad is revealed. Insert horrified-face emoji here.

Apple surely intended to emphasize the innovation and advancement represented by its Reality Pro. But the commercial clearly missed the mark by failing to take into account the emotional and financial impact Apple products have had on creatives through the years.

Apple | Crush!

Every item flattened represents an industry, from music and publishing to gaming. These are pursuits that technology giants like Apple have fundamentally altered, putting the livelihoods of countless real people at risk.

To call the spot tone deaf might be an understatement. Apple disregarded every individual and industry it flattened in the name of technological innovation. It also dismissed the significance of passion, skill, craft and personal expression—the keys to shaping culture—as meaningless.

Just as troubling was the brand's obviousness in the moment. With Apple—and all the big tech companies, for that matter—racing toward AI, the spot screamed what many have feared: The size and speed of advancement will threaten the foundations of the creative industries themselves.

If Apple's intention was to get people to think, the spot did just that. Based on early reactions, it seems like everyone, especially folks in the creative industry, will be thinking—and talking—about getting "crushed" by technology for days and weeks to come.  

Per AdAge, Apple has issued an apology and says the ad, which broke online, now won't run on TV.  

Charell Star
Charell Star is executive director of Muse by Clio.

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