Celebrity iPhone 4S Siri commercials hit the air with Samuel L. Jackson, Zooey Deschanel

Celebrity iPhone 4S Siri commercials hit the air with Samuel L. Jackson, Zooey Deschanel

For the first time in... forever, iPhone 4S commercials are hitting the air with celebrities.... talking to Siri. The Avengers' Samuel L. Jackson is in one spot that finishes with Verizon branding and The New Girl's Zooey Deschanel is in another with the Sprint logo at the end.

Given that at least two carriers seem to be involved so far, it's hard to imagine Apple isn't behind them. While there have been some carrier specific ad spots in the past, they've been very specific, often touting network features like simultaneous voice and data (AT&T), reliability and reach (Verizon), or unlimited data (Sprint) and something slamming the competition. iPhone features, especially when the carrier is relegated to branding at the end, are typically done by Apple (and air outside the US with international carrier branding).

Unlike previous Siri commercials, the celebrities in these spots actually get their whole heads featured and aren't simply shot from the mouth down (obviously). There's a lot of missed opportunities too, with Samuel L. Jackson never asking Siri "where's my super suit?!".

So this raises several interesting questions. Are there more celebrity spots on the way? Why would Apple switch gears now and use celebrities anyway? We'll be keeping our eyes peeled tonight in case any other commercials show up -- let us know if you see any. And let us know which celebrities you'd like to see in an iPhone 4S commercial. James Earl Jones would be pretty epic...!

Source: @ShawnKing, thenewxmancxd

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 38 comments. Add yours.

Plazmic Flame says:

This does nothing for me, but this will win over the masses.... damn, Apple doing it right.

BJWanlund says:

I cannot wait to see these! And I cannot wait to see The Avengers! It's less than a month away!

martinjdub says:

ummmm....those are kinda weak....not sold.
Even BlackBerry makes better commercials than those POS.

Mr.OneTwo says:

holy crap LOL
watch out fellas.. the last BB user is on the lose!

Macboy74 says:

People still use blackberry's?

tommyb_23 says:

Wow u really read theses articles so u can make a comment like that , I'm sorry u have no life and you live in your moms basement your suck a intuitive individual . I wish more were just like you . Please keep reading a site dedicated to apple products and keep up these great comments , I'm surprised u don't get paid to write your articles .

chirmer says:

Just saw the Zooey Deschanel one and it had Verizon at the end here... I wonder if they alternate what carrier is at the end when they show the commercial? I haven't seen the SLJ one, but the Zooey one screamed "LOOK AT ME, I'M SO HIPSTER!" Didn't really like it as much as the others :/

mark s says:

yuck. not a good idea Apple.

joe blow says:

I'm sick and tired of the GO#$#$%MN SIRIS on this MOT%$#%$#G PLANE!

GeorgeCarlinJr says:

Sammy? Hmmmmm...... Not so sure this is a good idea.
From TMZ -- "In an interview with Ebony magazine, Jackson explained, "I voted for Barack because he was black. 'Cuz that's why other folks vote for other people — because they look like them ... That's American politics, pure and simple. [Obama's] message didn't mean [bleep] to me."
Jackson then went on to drop the N-word several times when discussing Obama, telling the mag, "When it comes down to it, they wouldn't have elected a [bleep]. Because, what's a [bleep]? A [bleep] is scary. Obama ain't scary at all. [Bleeps] don't have beers at the White House. [Bleeps] don't let some white dude, while you in the middle of a speech, call [him] a liar. A [bleep] would have stopped the meeting right there and said, ‘Who the [bleep] said that?' I hope Obama gets scary in the next four years, 'cuz he ain't gotta worry about getting re-elected.""
Maybe a better iPhone commercial for Mr. Jackson would have him telling the truth....he bought the phone because it was black.

MarkEllisNJ says:

And this is relevant how? He is a comedian. That interview would have appealed to even the real George Carlin. It was meant to be humorous. If you knew anything further about the guy you probably wouldn't have wasted your time with this post.

GeorgeCarlinJr says:

"After the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackson attended the funeral in Atlanta as one of the ushers. Jackson then flew to Memphis to join an equal rights protest march. In a Parade interview Jackson revealed: "I was angry about the assassination, but I wasn’t shocked by it. I knew that change was going to take something different — not sit-ins, not peaceful coexistence." In 1969, Jackson and several other students held members of the Morehouse College board of trustees (including a nearby Martin Luther King, Sr.) hostage on the campus, demanding reform in the school's curriculum and governance. The college eventually agreed to change its policy, but Jackson was charged with and eventually convicted of unlawful confinement, a second-degree felony. Jackson was then suspended for two years for his criminal record and his actions (although he would later return to the college to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Drama in 1972).
While he was suspended, Jackson was employed as a social worker in Los Angeles. Jackson decided to return to Atlanta, where he met with Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, and others active in the Black Power movement. Jackson revealed in the same Parade interview that he began to feel empowered with his involvement in the movement, especially when the group began buying guns. However, before Jackson could become involved with any significant armed confrontation, his mother sent him to Los Angeles after the FBI told her that he would die within a year if he remained with the Black Power movement."
Sounds like he's just being true to the racist, black power movement he was found of when he was younger.
I don't fault him for speaking his mind. I think everyone should be so honest. I just think he's a poor choice for a company spokesman - unless your core audience is primarily angry black people.

giet says:

Makes sense... when the majority white country votes for the black guy Obama, who looks like them. Wait... no, he doesn't. So in other words, Jackson is the one voting based on race.

Quis89 says:

Yea I can see why this matters. I mean it's not like he has fans or anything, right?

mc5 says:

what do the commercials mean for the iphone 5 release date? last efforts to sell more 4ses shortly before the wwdc or will these commercials show up with different celebs for the next six months? (please not!) ;-)

d2globalinc says:

ahhh the apple sellout has begun, apple without steve jobs..

Macboy74 says:

The Sam Jackson one was all wrong I was thinking of one more like this:
Jackson: What does Marcellus Wallace look like?
Siri: What?
Jackson: what county you from?
Siri: What?
Jackson: What ain't no country I ever heard of. They speak english in what?
Siri: What?
Jackson: English motherf****r do you speak it?

JayCrew30#IM says:

CLASSIC! Awesome! They should have run the commercial just like that.

Dev says:

Ask and ye shall receive on YouTube (NSFW-L, obviously)

Jay says:

I want to see one with Donald Trump: "Siri, you're fired!"

Lt_Solorna says:

Samuel Jackson's was AT&T. I saw both of these last night and thought the same thing about Jackson's. Out of the two Zooey's was better. One thing is that I hope they don't have Schmidt from New Girl in a spot.

Lt_Solorna says:

I forgot to add that I saw Verizon at the end of Zooey's commercial.

cardfan says:

I've no problem with Apple using celebs. My only concern is their continued desire to push just Siri. It's a feature that doesn't quite work as well as the marketing promotes. And it's been done. I'm not sure how much more Apple can milk Siri in its current form.
IMO, Apple should go back to basics. They throw out big numbers at their events to grab attention. But these are aimed at the tech media and rabid Apple fans, there's still room for a few commercials with this. Highlight some killer games. Show off some airplay mirroring. Show the ease of use in downloading an app and having it pop up on all your devices (for example).

Dev says:

Almost along among tech companies, Apple has historically under-promised and over-delivered; it is what makes their brand uniquely valuable and respected by end users. Siri breaks with that Apple tradition.
While Siri works ok for some things, Apple marketing is certainly portraying it as far more capable than it is for most people in everyday settings. It is not that Siri doesn't work, it is that, for the first time, you buy an Apple product and it cannot do everything the ads promise. This sets up disappointment, not delight, in the new phone, and may make some people consider Apple in the same breath as other electronics producers who promise the moon. The focus on a special feature is perhaps ironically making some consumers consider Apple as a less special company.
This may not be an immediate danger for Apple, but, long-term, that could be very damaging to Apple's brand.

cardfan says:

What a great reply. That puts into words what I was thinking.

tempestuous says:

It made SLJ look like such a total hipster douche.

Jude3435 says:

I enjoyed the Sam Jackson commercial,...I feel fine about these endorsements. Look, Apple is the golden goose and their products are, let's face it, terrific...so do they need celebs to promote their products? Well, not really but it certainly won't hurt. Have you ever seen an NBC show (Grimm, The Office, etc.) whose characters don't use iphones and Macs?

Joebin says:

Well it's not the first time celebrities were used in Apple ads. I think it helps more than it hurts. It would've been fun for the celebs' heads to be cropped at the top and keep it in line with the non-celeb Siri ads. Waiting for a Will Ferrell version!

west3man says:

I'm very curious to find out what it is about the Samuel L Jackson commercial that is so problematic for people. No he's not using a bunch of profanity. No he's not screaming about snakes on a plane. No he's not threatening to kill anyone and no he's not quoting his movies.
He's being a regular guy who is married to a lady that he loves and who has romantic plans with her for the evening. He is using a tool that is available to him that is useful to help him toward this end. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's curious that others do.

Damitol says:

First of all, I always happy to see anything with Zooey in it (and have felt that way since the Hitchhiker's Guide movie). My problem pretty much mirrors Dev's above. I had fun with Siri at first ("Siri - what are you wearing?") and was blown away by the potential, but then the shortcomings became more and more apparent, and now my Siri is mostly silent. I would rather type once into Google, than repeat the same thing to Siri three times - especially with other people close-by.
I understand Apple's plight, in that Siri is the one cool and easily demonstratable differentiator between the iPhone and the competition when you are trying to sway potential customers - but it's also the first thing that will disappoint after they actually buy the phone.
I'm sure Apple and Nuance have tons of people digging through the data they've collected over the last six months to make Siri much more accurate, but until she's ready for prime time, have Zooey play with FaceTime, peruse the App Store or sign up for a free course at iTunes U. Maybe give Siri a cameo, but don’t base the ad on it.
I love the concept of Siri and firmly believe the “beta” millstone will eventually be removed (making Siri one of my best friends), but I hate seeing this type of advertising from Apple, knowing that the technology is not quite there yet.

Mazon says:

I am a Zory fan, and the ads are cool.
I do miss the old " I'm a PC, I'm a MAC" ads.

UndergroundWire says:

I'm lonely. Let me talk to my virtual assistant.