The film, titled The Surprise, starts off with a scene that’ll be familiar to most parents – impatient children, stuffed into the car for a long journey, causing chaos in the backseat. Luckily there’s an iPad on hand to keep them entertained. At this point, it feels a bit predictable. Of course Apple is pushing its tablets as magical devices for keeping children distracted.
However, things get a bit more complex from thereon out. Without spoiling the twist in the story – which involves a grieving grandad – the iPad becomes less about instant entertainment, and more about sharing cherished family memories.
It’s not often advertising is genuinely moving but The Surprise really tugs at the heartstrings, and you could be forgiven if you well up slightly watching it. The background music, borrowed from the equally heart-wrenching film Up, only adds to the emotion.
The ad – which was created by Apple’s agency TBWA\Media Arts Lab, and directed by Mark Molloy – isn’t the first time the tech giant has shown a more relatable side to phones and tablets.
In 2016, Apple’s holiday ad revolved around the story of a Christmas-loving monster, accepted into society by the local (non-pitchfork-wielding) villagers, and in 2013, Misunderstood also played on the idea of family memories.
As always, the underlying message is about the many ways Apple’s products belong in our lives, but you have to admire the way they manage to creep into our feelings while doing that.