iPhone Holiday Commercial Shows Tech Giant's Heart


Apple has made a fortune selling high tech in the sleekest of packages, and its torchbearer is the iPhone. These iconic trinkets bridged the gap between cellular phones and computers, and for years, did it in two colors—stylish black or creamy white—with customizable application selections. Since their debut in 2007, they've gone from being pocket phones to pocket Shmoos, becoming whatever consumers want them to be.

Apple (and the iPhone in particular) has branded itself as cool, hip and clean, and its advertising campaigns have diligently avoided pathos. Until now. In a 90-second Apple Christmas ad titled "Misunderstood," which debuted Dec. 16, audiences got a taste of how warm the tech giant would like to be perceived.

In it, an iPhone-wielding teenager—let's call him "Timmy" for the sake of convenience—is shown alone, following his friends and family around a snowy Christmas-scape looking forlorn, unwanted and thoroughly engrossed with his iPhone while everyone else builds snowmen, tromps through pristine powder and generally has a good time.

Finally, on Christmas Day, Timmy's family gathers in the living room before a glittering Christmas tree. At the peak of the morning's holiday cheer, Timmy steps up to the TV and switches it on. One pajama-clad cousin standing by the tree throws up his hands, dismayed. 

For a split second, bewilderment with Timmy's behavior is writ large on the faces of his family members until the words "A Harris Family Holiday" appear written in snow on the screen: Timmy has been filming and editing a holiday masterpiece the whole time.

Timmy's Christmas film chronicles his family's adventures in the snow, from the giving of presents and hugging babies to sled rides and icy eyelashes. The family, of course, is thrilled. Cousins clap and a red-faced grandma brushes a tear from her eye. 

It doesn't seem to matter that Timmy hasn't been participating in family activities, that he has been sullen and forlorn looking—"Misunderstood," according to the ad's title—probably for days. Amends have been made through the video, and, by extension, the iPhone, which midwifed Timmy's latent filmmaking talent. Never mind: All is forgiven. Happy holidays.