Apple Gets Poetic About iPad Air in New Ad

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled a new advertisement this weekend that promotes the many artistic and technical uses of its flagship iPad Air tablet. The “Your Verse Anthem” ad debuted during Sunday’s divisional playoff game between the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.

The new ad was shot in Apple’s usual dramatic style and featured a beautifully photographed montage of people using the iPad in various capacities and environments around the world. However, in lieu of an original voiceover, Apple recycled a dramatic monologue delivered by Robin Williams in the film Dead Poets Society.

Dead Poets Society is a film about an inspiring English teacher played by Robin Williams. In the excerpt used by Apple, Williams argued that “poetry, beauty, romance, love” are the ultimate reasons for living, although more practical pursuits like “medicine, law, business, engineering” are necessary to sustain life. The speech also includes a quote from a Walt Whitman poem. The ad can be seen in the embedded video below and is also currently featured on Apple’s website.

The full transcript of the voiceover provided by ReCode:

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry, because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering — these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love — these are what we stay alive for.

To quote from Whitman,

“O me, O life of the questions of these recurring.
Of the endless trains of the faithless. Of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer: that you are here. That life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

What will your verse be?

Apple has a hit-or-miss record when it comes to dramatic advertisements. Apple’s recently released “Misunderstood” iPhone holiday ad was generally considered a success and generated positive buzz. The ad featured a young teenager surprising his family on Christmas morning with an expertly edited video of his family’s holiday gathering.

However, the “Our Signature” advertisement released last summer was considered a failure after it scored well below average with viewers, according to Ace Metrix, a consulting firm that uses consumer surveys to analyze the effectiveness of TV commercials. Many viewers thought the advertisement was “sad.” Apple’s most successful dramatic advertisement is widely considered to be the iconic “1984” television commercial that aired during Super Bowl XVIII.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)

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