Why Tim Cook narrated Apple's new environmental video, Better

Apple recently launched a new, environmentally focused video called "Better" and what's more — it was narrated by their CEO, Tim Cook. That, having a high ranking executive voice-over a video, marketing or corporate, isn't common for Apple. Steve Jobs, famously, recorded the voice over for the now-iconic "Think Different" ad but ultimately went with Richard Dreyfuss as narrator. So, why Tim Cook?

My best guess as to why Tim Cook narrated the "Better" video is because it speaks to Apple's core values, and speaking to Apple's core values is both deeply important to Tim Cook, and how he's been positioned atop and within Apple. back in January, I wrote Tim Cook is Apple's moral center and 'we believe' its post-PC battle-cry:

Tim Cook comes out at the beginning and end of Apple events, just as Steve Jobs did in his latter years, and where he inherited "the crossroads of technology and liberal arts" he's steadily, passionately, visibly moved Apple down the road of core values. From matching charitable donations to apologizing about maps to championing equality in employment to stating when and how Apple would put their signature on their products, Cook has brought the discussion of not only what Apple does, but how and why they do it front and center.

Earlier this year at Apple's annual general shareholders meeting, when asked about environmental policies impacting Apple's bottom line, Cook not only replied but got as close to angry as we've ever seen him in public:

"When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind," [Cook] said, "I don't consider the bloody ROI." He said that the same thing about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader. [...] He didn't stop there, however, as he looked directly at the NCPPR representative and said, "If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock."

It's obvious these issues mean a great deal to Cook, and Apple's ability to make a difference means a great deal to Cook.

And he's not just championing those issues and those values on stage or with shareholders, but in videos and with everyone.

Rene Ritchie

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.

  • Good commercial. I'm all for common sense energy initiatives. Apple is walking a fine line of having a message and not being overtly political. So far, so good.
  • IMO Cook is getting a little too close to being overtly political. He needs to know that there are probably millions who buy Apple products that don't share his political views. Being more a-political publicly would be a good idea.
  • As someone who tends to balance in the middle of the US political spectrum, can you help me identify what was political about this ad? My philosophy on "Going Green" is this. No matter what side of the issue you are on, if you can reduce waste? if you can power an entire data center without impacting the electrical grid? Regardless of it's impact on the environment, doesn't it just make sense to do so?
  • Why would being more "a-political" (sic) in a public manner be a good idea? And how is discussing how Apple intends to become as self-sufficient energy-wise a political statement? Unless you happen to come from one of those states - usually coloured red on political maps - that wishes to fine homebuilders and owners for trying to get off the fossil-fuel power grid, and be more self-sufficient. Here in Australia such efforts are rewarded by Government grants and reduced power bills. In states like Arizona you are charged for such public insurrection of the fossil fuel industry. See:http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-15/arizona-regulators-impose-power... If it's Tim Cook's desire to have his company leave the planet in a better state that it found it in 1976, he can become as political as he desires, IMHO. Les Posen
    Melbourne, Australia
  • Those red states outnumber the blue. Not always in electoral votes but in population, yes. People in the U.S. forget that just because the two coasts have large cities with mostly overlapping liberal views, it doesn't mean there are more of "you" then there are of "them". That being said, I know investors are scared of any political stances Apple might take in any direction but i kind of like the change. Jobs got fired up over Google/Samsung and their thievery. That was his war. Maybe Cook's war will be one of green and social initiatives. I'd rather have Cook stand for something other than just product and profits.
  • I think it's great that Tim Cook narrated this video. Tim clearly has a passion for the company he runs and has some very strong opinions on these kinds of issues, and I think that's great. Steve Jobs was a very passionate man, hopefully seeing that Tim is as well will put some people's concerns about Apple's futures at bay. Sent from the iMore App
  • Round of applause.
  • Frankly I could care less if people don't like his political stances, and I don't consider concern for the environment to be a political stance, but common sense. Apple's politics and environmental policies will make more people prone to get their products and like them than those who will abandon them. Beh-bye Rush!
  • Here's a metaphor that aligns well. I subscribe to Audible.com because I love to listen to audio books rather than read books. A great book can be destroyed by a horrible narrator, and vice versa. Often people love when the author narrates his or her own book, which is becoming increasingly common. Why? Because who else is best equipped to put the right emotion into it? Nobody else.
  • Tim's a good guy and strong leader. Honestly, I am not convinced he has the right (literal) voice for this.