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Feb 14, 201701:52 PMOpen Mic

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Getting Creative: Show, don’t tell. Breaking down Apple’s ‘Stroll’ TV spot

Did you watch it? Good. Let's deconstruct it. But first, why: Arthur C. Clarke's third law stipulates that, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." And he's absolutely right.

A maybe TRUE FAMILY STORY about the intersection of tech and magic.

My progenitor, Sonck Knudten, a Danish ship captain shipwrecked in the South Pacific, saved his own life by amazing his cannibal captors with advanced technology: the ship's compass. The arrow always pointed in the same direction ergo he must be a powerful magician. Result: Sonck was not on the menu for dinner that night. Score one for technology as magic.

Going back to Clarke's law, that's what makes technology so cool. Not 'engineered' or 'optimized,' but 'cool.' And in business, cool is often synonymous with 'premium margin.' That's where Apple comes in.

There are a whole lot of Apple agnostics out there who just don't get paying an Apple tax (premium margin) for their version of smartphones/tablets/headphones/whatever the next big thing is. Many of those Apple skeptics cite specifications as the killer reason why Apple products are inferior. The screen isn't as big. The chips run at slower speeds. It doesn't have as many pixels. So what?

Apple is cool. And feature filled. And they just don't tell you about it — they show you.

Cut back to Apple's AirPods TV spot Stroll.

This spot is cold as ice. Rico suave soundtrack (Marian Hill's Down). The smoother than silk dancing by Lil Buck. And a TV spot that shows AirPod features without you even knowing it. Let's break it down in pictures:

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

Lil Buck, just chillin', getting ready for a stroll.

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

What's this? An iPhone 7 paired with AirPods? Well, go ahead, show me more. Feature: easy pairing (assuming you have an iPhone 7)

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

Full charges for both devices. Nice. Feature: Easy-to-read battery gauges

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

Look, mom, no wires. Features: wireless, easy ear fitting

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

Do they stay in? Based on this aggressive spin, the answer is yes. Features: solid fit, wireless

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

Yep, they stay in even when you go horizontal. Feature: solid fit

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

Just plain cool interlude, showing how the AirPods' wireless and fit features enable anything, anywhere.

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

Solid product shot, again showing how cool these AirPods are. Apple haters, your mileage may vary.

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

More "they stay in" coolness.

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

Woah, they even pause the track the second you remove one of them. Feature: remove earpiece, track pauses

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

The only real "tells" in this spot #1. Feature: replace the ear piece, music plays

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

The only real "tells" in this spot #2. Hammers home the key benefit: these things are magical

Apple iPhone 7 and AirPods 'Stroll' TV commercial

The simplest "show who" this side of Nike.

This last frame makes me laugh. "Subject to availability." HA! As of this writing, they are six weeks backordered, and have been for months. Still don't have mine. Sad.

There's a very real corollary in life and advertising: You say you're cool, you aren't. You show you're cool, you are.

If you don't get any of the above, don't worry. You're not in the target market.

No voiceover. No bullet points. No engineering specifications. Just magic.

D.P. Knudten is chief collaborator for COLLABORATOR creative.

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