Apple Apologizes for iPad Ad Amid Controversy: ‘We Missed the Mark’

Apple is sorry for its culture-crushing iPad ad.

The tech giant’s commercial for the new, ultra-thin iPad Pro models caused an uproar after CEO Tim Cook posted it on X, with a caption reading, “Meet the new iPad Pro: the thinnest product we’ve ever created, the most advanced display we’ve ever produced, with the incredible power of the M4 chip. Just imagine all the things it’ll be used to create.”

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The “Crush!” ad shows various creative and cultural objects — including a TV, record player, piano, trumpet, guitar, cameras, a typewriter, books, paint cans and tubes, and an arcade game machine — getting demolished in an industrial press. At the end of the spot, the new iPad Pro pops out, shiny and new, with a voiceover that says, “The most powerful iPad is also the thinnest.”

The iPad Pro ad generated fury among many in Hollywood and other creative industries, including Hugh Grant and filmmaker-actor Justine Bateman, who saw it as a vivid and literal illustration of Big Tech laying waste to culture. “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley,” Grant had posted on X.

On Thursday, Apple issued an apology for the spot.

“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, Apple VP of marketing communications, said in a statement. “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.”

It’s a rare mea culpa for Apple, which for years has been one of the tech sector’s savviest marketers. The fact that the company publicly expressed regret over the ad indicates the extent and ferocity of the blowback, particularly among professional creatives who are a key customer segment for its premium-priced products.

As of this writing, the ad remains available on platforms including YouTube (where it has generated more than 1 million views in two days) and on X (including on Cook’s post, which has more than 53 million views and counting). However, Apple has now canceled plans to run the spot on TV. The 60-second iPad Pro commercial was produced by Apple’s in-house creative team.

Meanwhile, the “Crush!” ad is strikingly similar to a 30-second spot for an LG mobile phone from 2008 (via 9to5Google). In the 15-year-old ad for the LG Renoir KC910, a hydraulic press crushes musical instruments, camera lenses, speakers, paint and more, with the phone popping out as the finished product. (Apple didn’t provide comment on the similarities of the ads.)

Apple first provided comment to Ad Age about the iPad ad controversy.

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