Technology crushing human creativity? Apple’s new iPad ad has struck a nerve online

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. strike a nerve / straɪk ə nɜrv / (idiom) – to make someone feel upset, angry, etc.

    The comedian’s joke about a sensitive topic struck a nerve.

  2. tone-deaf / ˈtoʊnˌdɛf / (adj.) – not sensitive about how people feel about something

    Her tone-deaf comments on social media about enjoying the lockdown were criticized by those facing severe hardships due to the pandemic.

  3. oblivion / əˈblɪv i ən / (n.) – the state of being completely forgotten or no longer important

    The old traditions were slowly fading into oblivion as modern practices took their place.

  4. myriad / ˈmɪr i əd / (n.) – a very large number or countless quantity of something

    The internet offers a myriad of resources for learning new skills.

  5. bring (something) to life / brɪŋ tə laɪf / (idiom) – to make something more real, exciting, or appealing

    The new museum exhibit brings ancient history to life with interactive displays and immersive experiences.


Read the text below.

A newly released ad promoting Apple’s new iPad Pro has struck quite a nerve online.

The ad, which was released by the tech giant on May 7, shows a hydraulic press crushing just about every creative instrument artists and consumers have used over the years—from a piano and record player to piles of paint, books, cameras, and relics of arcade games. Resulting from the destruction? A pristine new iPad Pro.

“The most powerful iPad ever is also the thinnest,” a narrator says at the end of the commercial.

Apple’s intention seems straightforward: Look at all the things this new product can do. But critics have called it tone-deaf—with several marketing experts noting the campaign’s execution didn’t land.

“I had a really disturbing reaction to the ad,” said Americus Reed II, professor of marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “I understood conceptually what they were trying to do, but … I think the way it came across is, here is technology crushing the life of that nostalgic sort of joy (from former times).”

The ad also arrives during a time when many feel uncertain or fearful about seeing their work or everyday routines “replaced” by technological advances—particularly amid the rapid commercialization of generative artificial intelligence. And watching beloved items get smashed into oblivion doesn’t help curb those fears, Reed and others note.

Some found the ad to be a telling metaphor for the industry today—particularly concerns about big tech negatively impacting creatives. Filmmaker Justine Bateman wrote on X that the commercial “crushes the arts.”

In a statement shared with Ad Age on May 9, Apple apologized for the ad. The outlet also reported that Apple no longer plans to run the spot on TV.

“Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it’s incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world,” Tor Myhren, the company’s vice president of marketing communications, told Ad Age. “Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad. We missed the mark with this video, and we’re sorry.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The new ad shows a hydraulic press crushing various creative instruments to reveal the new iPad Pro. Do you agree with the way the new iPad product was introduced? Why or why not? If you were working in the creative industry, would the ad have been offensive to you? Discuss.
  • What factors do you think brands should consider when creating an ad (ex. the timing of the ad, the current cultural and societal context)? Have you ever seen an ad that you did not like? How about an ad that you liked? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Given that many feel uncertain or fearful about seeing their work or everyday routines replaced by technological advances, what steps do you think brands can take to address the concerns and fears of artists and creatives in their advertising campaigns? Discuss.
  • Do technological advancements cause you fear or concern? Why or why not? Discuss.