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Apple Charges Toward Best Battery Yet

August 2023

This is a self-funded case study using our ad testing solution.

Apple’s penchant for creativity is almost unrivaled. We tested the brand’s Data Auction spot in 2022 and it surpassed all expectations. Original, on-brand, and conveying a clear, compelling message around an increasingly important consumer need (data privacy). While it’s a formula which sounds so simple, it’s one which is also easy to get very wrong if the ingredients for success don’t strike the optimal balance.

While sitting around Cubery HQ and watching Battery for Miles for the first time (a 60 second spot which follows a farmer calmly traveling down a deserted road on his tractor with a giant pumpkin in tow), the team all looked around at one another with a knowing look — a unanimous consensus that this would be another highlight in Apple’s brimming creative catalogue.

However (yes, there’s always a however!), once the results came in we were knocked off our perch and given an important reminder as marketers. Whether we love a piece of content or not, marketers live in a bubble. The population at large — those without any innate biases (or stakes in the matter) — are ultimately the ones an ad needs to work amongst and influence for it to be effective. If it’s not clear by now, the ad didn’t meet our high expectations; it not only fell below normative benchmarks, but also sat a considerable margin behind the Data Auction spot from 2022.

While this all seemingly paints a bleak picture, the ad did still feature many of the strengths typical of Apple communications. Music was again a central component, with the rap hit from Ludacris providing an amusing juxtaposition to the humble rural landscape and older gentleman driving the tractor. Many found the approach highly distinctive, with the cinematic visuals and drawn-out pacing working in tandem to reinforce that the iPhone 14 offers the brand’s longest battery life yet.

While helping create a sense of drama and aiding message clarity, the pacing was an issue for many. Heightened feelings of boredom were experienced, with some considering the prolonged narrative (and attempt at humor) overkill for such a simple message. While Apple’s approach to advertising has evolved over the years into something best described as ‘organized chaos’, for many it was a step too far from the brand’s typically high-energy and uplifting style. Further to this, while the focus on battery life was clearly understood, it perhaps skewed a little too much toward ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’. Little substantiation or ‘reason to believe’ behind these claims was perhaps what led people to not be entirely convinced that Apple offered anything significantly different or better in this respect.

This provides a nice reminder of the importance of bringing the customer into the conversation, both early and often. Lauded by creatives and marketers alike (including ourselves), the ad’s performance highlights the chasm which exists between the boardroom table and average suburban family. By giving your most important stakeholder — the consumer — a voice, brands have a better chance of connecting with audiences.

Apple — Battery for Miles - Cubery Ad Testing

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