In this online workshop we discuss emotive storytelling, implicit product promotion and how Apple achieves universal resonance
On Jan 11 2020 Apple released this video on their YouTube channel, which records ‘three generations of Chinese women coming together at Chinese New Year’… the footage captured handily on Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro, of course.
In the video, we see how the iPhone 11 Pro is used by the heroine in a practical capacity; it empowers our heroine by enabling her to work as a taxi driver and provide for her young daughter. We are also, in a subtler capacity, shown the potential of this technology in capturing more emotive moments, as in this video the iPhone 11 Pro is used to film the heroine’s tense conflict with her mother and poignant moments with her daughter.
There is likewise the underlying message of the iPhone 11 Pro enabling the user to view the world in distinct and creative ways, to think and communicate differently, as at no point is the viewer presented with a shot of the iPhone 11 Pro itself. Rather everything we view in this video is filtered through the lens of this technology.
Apple is incredibly clever in its brand storytelling here, despite the video ultimately promoting its newest iPhone. The story is tender, poignant and authentic in how it captures a modern experience of Chinese culture.
And if there’s one key lesson to learn from Apple’s strategy here, it’s how they achieve that specific sense of authenticity. We do not feel ‘sold too’ or like promotional messaging is being jammed down our throats. Instead, we are left to make the connection between the positive emotions and the product functioning to both facilitate these moments for the protagonist and – on a more ‘meta’ level – capture these moments in the film itself.
In other words, the resulting emotion of using the iPhone 11 Pro – the joy, connection, sense of independence – is what is emphasised, over and above the product itself. This example of storytelling would be hugely ineffective if it revolved completely around the product alone, wouldn’t it?
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