Apple is centering the privacy theme in its newest ad spot that will air today with the simple tagline: Privacy. That’s iPhone. The ad spot is visually cued to convey the theme of privacy.
The spot has only one line of text otherwise, and it’s in keeping with Apple’s messaging on privacy over the long and short term. “If privacy matters in your life, it should matter to the phone your life is on.”
The spot will air tonight in primetime in the U.S. and extend through March Madness. It will then air in select other countries.
You’d have to be hiding under a rock not to have noticed Apple positioning privacy as a differentiating factor between itself and other companies. Beginning a few years ago, CEO Tim Cook began taking more and more public stances on what the company felt to be your “rights” to privacy on their platform and how that differed from other companies. The undercurrent being that Apple was able to take this stance because its first-party business relies on a relatively direct relationship with customers who purchase its hardware and, increasingly, its services.
This stands in contrast to the model of other tech giants like Google or Facebook that introduce a monetization strategy in the equation thus allowing third parties access to your data. These parties, usually ad agencies then use their platforms to sell better to users.
Turning the ethical high ground into a marketing strategy is not without its pitfalls, though, as Apple has discovered recently with a (now patched) high-profile FaceTime bug that allowed people to turn your phone into a listening device, Facebook’s manipulation of App Store permissions and the revelation that there was some long overdue house cleaning needed in its Enterprise Certificate program.
It’s interesting what thoughts the iconography in the spot expresses on the interrelationship between privacy and security; being both one and the same while still seperate.
The App Store itself, of course, still hosts apps from Google and Facebook among thousands of others that use personal data of yours in one form or another. Apple’s argument is that it protects the data you give to your phone aggressively by processing on the device, collecting minimal data, disconnecting that data from the user as much as possible and giving users as transparent a control interface as possible. All true. All far, far better efforts than the competition.
Even so, some of us feel with Apple’s size and cap strength, it can and should be more than a bastion of privacy by itself. Because its platform host apps of actors who are less protective of personal user data, it should become a strong force in its privacy proselytizing ways, perhaps helping to give little and other big companies the nudge they sorely need to embrace privacy too.
Beyond pitching itself as a halidom of privacy in its marketing efforts, it can become more activist that it is being already. The ecosystem needs companies with a systemic dedication to privacy even if they suffer situational loss of such said privacy due to bug issues as opposed to those who run an ‘invasion of privacy as a service’ business.
The tag line is pithy to be sure and really though, that’s what is required of marketing ads. But privacy should be all-rounded and all encompassing for a brand that hinges its advantage on the concept itself.