Everyone in the entire universe is asking the same question, "Are those real people in the iPhone ads or just paid actors reciting a script?" Ok, not the entire universe, but certainly a handful are asking. The balance of people could care less because they have real lives to live, not iPhone inspired lives which has become all the rage.
Apple has catapulted three fresh "Real People Stories" onto it's website, in ads featuring an airline pilot "Bryce", ballet dancer (blogger) "Kristin" and an Off-Broadway producer named "Ken". That now adds up to five out of six iPhone ads being mantastic, with dudes dominating the screen. I called Apple's ad agency TBWA/CHIAT/DAY to ask them the tough questions. A lovely voice on the other line hinted that I would get a call back with answers once Apple was consulted (I'm tired of waiting). Here's what I've uncovered.
Kristin Sloan is actually a dancer for the New York City Ballet and the founder, editor of the dance collaborative blog "The Winger" as she states in the iPhone ad (her profile here). Ken Davenport is a true life Off-Broadway producer who hosts several online sites (here) including The Producer's Perspective (here) where he has the Apple ad featured. Ken's new play "My First Time" appears to be getting positive reviews (website here).
Let's see if his iPhone ad does as well. I don't know if these people
actually emailed Apple their iPhone stories or not. Maybe they paid
Apple to plug their projects. The agency knows for sure. Also, I heard no airline plug from Bryce.
Though these three new spots are an improvement over 'Meat Head', 'Middle Manager', and 'Toolbag' these apples don't fall far from the tree. Same format, different people. The big addition here is being able to connect to the real people online which does make the spots more compelling. Maybe that's what has been missing. We all want to know if we're being hyped, right? Maybe the agency figured that one out. I could not locate Bryce the pilot, but that delay may be very serendipitous since Bryce seems like the hold-over guy from the first batch of ads. The great bland-ini strikes again!
It's difficult to tell if these Apple TV ads will have any influence on our high-speed "don't hype me, I'll make my own choices" culture. Of course the ads are easy targets to poke fun at because I did not create them. I'm willing to admit that. The real question remains, will they sell more iPhones? I would like to know that answer as well, now that I've learned that at least two of the people are not stand-ins.
Out of A Coma, Into The Apple Store (link)