By now you’ve probably seen Apple’s newest series of commercial, which use a rather serious, “epic” tone to promote their products . The use of this advertising mode is a trend we’ve been keeping track of for a while, as it seems more companies are willing to now go in that direction with their commercials.
These ads always have the same formula: Low-key synth-y soundscapes? Check. Epic, widescreen visuals? Yes, please. Baritone announcer voice assuredly reciting poetic verse? Why not?
Previously, Apple had taken a “cuter” tone to advertising (remember those iPod commercials, or the Mac vs. PC guy ads?), but earlier this year, they shifted their tone towards the decidedly more “epic”.
Another ad, in the same vein but focusing on the iPhone product:
Epic commercials have existed forever, but we think the latest iteration of this trend started in 2011, when Levi’s launched their “Go Forth” campaign. These ads were so poetic that it took some viewers the whole commercial to figure out what was being advertised. Of course, because the content was so arresting, this worked in Levi’s favor by making people focus on the ad for almost a minute before finding out what the product was being advertised.
BMW also jumped on the bandwagon earlier this year with an ad for their i Series.

What can you learn from these commercials?

For one, that even for a small business, your advertising campaigns can test out new territory. That is to say, you don’t have to stick to the original tone you developed when you started the company. All three of these brands, for example, had previously been associated with a different brand voice. Chances are, by next year they’ll be trying something different yet again.
Second, that it’s important to inspire your audience and consider your product’s lifestyle branding. If these commercials do anything, it’s inspiring their viewers by setting up the company’s product in a much larger context. “Life” is a lofty context to sell jeans in, and evoking the “Future” to sell a car might be considered heavy handed, but in this context and with these high production values, there’s no doubt the ads are effective.
Which leads us to our third takeaway: whichever angle you decide to advertise from, do it confidently (unless bashfulness is your angle). Self-consciousness has no place in advertising, and your ad work has to convey a deep belief in your product to convince anyone else to believe in it too.
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