Apple iPad ‘Crush!’ advert: Marketing VP Tor Myhren issues apology


Apple has been behind some of the most iconic adverts to hit screens over the past couple of decades—but its latest offering was blasted as “distasteful” by fans, leaving the company’s VP of marketing picking up the pieces.

Apple’s Tor Myhren said the Big Tech giant had “missed the mark” with the video released this week, and apologized to customers who called out the brand for its “tone-deaf” marketing.

Speaking to Ad Age this week, Myhren said: “Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it’s incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world.

“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 came after Apple CEO Tim Cook posted a tease for the new iPad Pro on X.

The advert shows various creative tools standing on a platform: musical instruments like a guitar, piano and trumpet, as well as artistic products like paint, a bust and an artist mannequin.

Elsewhere other creative outlets are shown: a pile of books, pairs of binoculars, a globe, a turntable.

All of which are promptly crushed by a hydraulic press. The advert then shows the press pad lifting up, revealing an iPad in the place of the aforementioned products.

“Just imagine all the thing it’ll be used to create,” Cook—who was compensated $49 million for his work in 2023—wrote on the post.

Customers on X—some of whom were the very creatives Cook may have been trying to catch the eye of—were infuriated by the advert.

“The symbolism of indiscriminately crushing beautiful creative tools is an interesting choice,” wrote one user.

“You destroyed all the creative tools and effort of humans,” wrote another. “Worst. Commercial. Ever.”

And Apple—perhaps more accustomed to hearing excitement and hype about its new products—was forced to listen.

Plans to run the advert on TV have now been scrapped, though the video titled ‘Crush!’ is still on Cook’s profile and on Apple’s YouTube account.

Ad blunders

Apple isn’t the first organization to fumble its advertising for creatives.

In 2020, a government-backed advert in the UK was labeled “crass” even by politicians in Whitechapel, as it suggested that a ballet dancer should retrain as an IT worker.

The advert, emblazoned with the symbols HM Government and the CyberFirst program, shows a photograph of a young woman in a tutu tying a pair of pointe shoes.

The caption reads: “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber (she just doesn’t know it yet.)”

At the time culture secretary Oliver Dowden distanced himself from the campaign, writing on X: “To those tweeting re #Fatima. This is not something from @DCMS [The Department for Culture, Media and Sport] & I agree it was crass.”

For Apple to make a similar misstep is unusual for the brand, beloved for its sleek aesthetics, eye-catching adverts and original retail offering.

And the departure had many watchers reflecting on where Apple began and where it is now.

Among the responses to Cook’s X post was a reply from Paul Graham, who founded Silicon Valley VC Y-Combinator.

Although the entrepreneur and computer scientist previously said he’s never met Apple founder Steve Jobs, he wrote to Cook: “Steve wouldn’t have shipped that ad. It would have pained him too much to watch.”

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