"We Hear You", Apple's new iPad Pro campaign, reminded me immediately of "Get a Mac", the classic series of ads that had John Hodgman as PC and Justin Long as Mac show how Windows pain points could be easily, often delightfully fixed simply by switching to a Mac.
Apple has had its biggest success with iPad when it's targeted people who were alienated and frustrated by traditional Windows PCs. Smart people. Productive people. Creative people. People who, simply by virtue of nature or nurture, found pointers and file systems indirect and abstract.
"We Believe", the iPad 2 ad where Apple affirmed for them that technology alone wasn't enough, that it had to get out of their way for magic to really happen, was like a breath of fresh, directly manipulable, infinitely relatable air.
"Your Verse", the iPad Air campaign, touched on a similar concept but was too extreme. Going to the tops of mountains and depths of oceans was cool, but it was, in its own way, as far beyond a mainstream customer as registries and command lines.
For a while now many of us who love iPad deeply and who benefit from things only iPad can do have been hoping Apple would start telling that story again.
My colleague, Serenity Caldwell, got so enthused she started a new column called iPad Pros to help tell exactly those types of stories.
With "We Hear You", Apple isn't doing exactly that. Instead of telling stories, they're addressing pain points. And I think, in the commercial format, that's a better tactic.
"Get a Mac" was successful because, despite PC being adorable, he represented every side- and roll-eye all of us have ever shot at a Windows PC. And Mac, despite being a little too cool, showed us computing didn't have to be so onerous and annoying.
That's the vibe "We Hear You" hits. Instead of PC, we get Twitter cards, but we get the same type of problem/solution formula.
If Apple is smart and hits exactly the right pain points and shows exactly how iPad Pro can address them and make our computing lives less miserable, it could be a huge win.
"We Hear You" targets switchers rather than addressing upgraders or the lengthy iPad upgrade cycle. That's strategically sound, since the latter is a far bigger challenge.
This is a really good start, and that's what iPad marketing has most desperately needed for a while now.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.