Apple’s 2021 holiday commercial recalls its 2013 classic


Apple's 2021 holiday commercial recalls its 2013 classic

Apple has released its traditional holiday ad and once again it is an emotional clip that will leave you with a bad case of the “feels.” The first holiday commercial from Apple to elicit such a response came in 2013 with a video that was highly regarded both by consumers and advertising experts. That ad, titled Misunderstood, focused on what at first appeared to be a heartless tech-addicted youth visiting his grandparents with the rest of the family for Christmas.

Apple’s 2013 holiday video starred an iPhone-addicted kid who was misunderstood

During the visit with the grandparents, the teen seems to spend every second with his iPhone 5s instead of interacting with the family. So when the kid calls everyone together in the living room, his father gives him the evil eye expecting the worst. Instead, the kid puts on the television and shows the family a video that he made with his iPhone showing the family enjoying the holiday.

When the grandmother starts crying, you have to be a sociopath not to feel anything. And as the father and son embrace, we know that the father has a newfound respect for the son that he thought was an irresponsible jerk. For those who don’t remember, this ad came out during a time when mental health doctors (never has a profession been in such dire need of their own work)

The response from the public was overwhelmingly positive with several calling it the best commercial ever. Since then, Apple has tried to match the emotions of Misunderstood with its subsequent holiday spots but fell short. Until, quite possibly, now. Apple has released the 2021 holiday video ad called Saving Simon, which was Shot On iPhone 13 Pro. Directed by a pair of Oscar-nominated directors, the video starts by showing a girl named Olive who runs off her school bus unsuccessfully trying to stop her brother from kicking and destroying  several snowmen.
To keep one of the snowman “alive,” Olive tosses a bunch of frozen food on the floor and puts what’s left of one of the snowman, named Simon, in the freezer where he stays for months. Even when the weather warms up and the family is camping, Simon is living in a cooler to keep him from becoming a puddle of water. When the weather turns cold again, the whole family goes out to the front of the house where Simon is placed back in the snow. Everything is good until a bicycle rider smashes into the snowman pulverizing him.

Olive is understandably upset. After nursing the snowman back to “health” and caring for him for what  year, one careless bicyclist “kills” him. But Olive’s brother, who started off her obsession by destroying the snowman the year before, has obviously had a change of heart and we see him working with his sister to rebuild Simon.

This is an atypical Apple holiday ad that didn’t mention or show any current Apple device

It’s that change of heart by the brother that might give you the “feels” and remind you of the 2013 classic. What is interesting is that unlike 2013 and even subsequent years, there is no iPhone, iPad or even a Mac involved in the commercial. In fact, the only time that one of Apple’s devices get mentioned is at the very beginning when we learn that the three minute video was filmed On iPhone 12 Pro.
In case you are wondering, the background song is “You and I” by Valerie June, and while many will tell you that the ad is about the relationship between Olive and Simon the snowman, it really is a video about Olive and her brother. Sure, we could play armchair psychologist and try to figure out what it all means. But the more interesting analysis needs to be applied to whoever the person on Apple’s marketing team decided to leave out and mention or image of any current Apple device.



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