The Problem with Apple's Siri Campaign

I know that the uproar of criticism over Apple’s marketing has been focused on the Genius campaign, but I think that the celebrity Siri spots are equally problematic. Yes, there are those who laud the ads because we get to watch famous people have "intensely personal conversations with their iPhones" But I strongly disagree and here's why.

Marketing at its best should be aspirational – as a consumer, I should be inspired by marketing to be more (or do more, or get more, or have more) than I may think that I am capable of achieving. This, of course, is the personification of Nike’s JUST DO IT campaign. You can use Nike to be more than you are. In fact, while there have been notable fails in apple marketing, aspiration has always been central to Apple’s marketing campaigns - and a core of their strength. Whether it’s the 1984 ad, or the Think Different campaign, or people dancing with their iPods, Apple has always been about helping people to define themselves (through and with apple).

Which brings me to the Siri campaign. Look, I am a fan of all the celebrities in the spots… but what is watching Samuel Jackson making dinner plans supposed to inspire me to be (a dinner guest, perhaps?!)? Same goes for watching Scorsese in the back of a cab. You get the idea. These spots may be fun for fans, and they may be educational about all the uses for Siri (when it actually works) but they don’t help me define myself, nor do they inspire me to use the Apple brand to be something more than I am. And that does not bode well for Apple because its been Apple’s relentless commitment to brand identity building which has made it such a powerful and successful brand.