Apple published yesterday a new “Privacy on iPhone” ad that takes a not so subtle shot at the ruthless practices of advertisers, who may see your smartphone as nothing less than a modern-day goldmine. This ad is quite reminiscent of Microsoft’s infamous “Scroogled” ad campaign from the Ballmer era, though Apple didn’t go as low and name its competitors directly.
The ad starts with a young woman visiting a record store before being attracted by the noise of a nearby auction sale for her own personal data. Once she enters the room, the woman saws bidders auctioning for her emails, recent transactions, browsing history, location, contacts, etc. “It’s not creepy, it’s commerce,” the enthusiastic auctioneer shouts in the room unapologetically.
But here comes your knight in shining armor: As excitement grows in the room, the young woman pulls her iPhone out of her pocket and turns on the iOS App Tracking Transparency feature, which prevents iOS apps from tracking her activities across other companies’ apps and websites. As the greedy bidders in the room start evaporating one by one, the young woman delivers the coup de grâce by turning on Mail Privacy Protection on her iPhone, which clears the room of the remaining data brokers.
The ad ends with a very serious message: “It’s your data. iPhone helps keep it that way.” Apple has been touting its “Privacy by design” approach for many years now, and features like App Tracking Transparency will reportedly cost Facebook $10 billion in revenue in 2022. The feature has apparently inspired Google to launch its Privacy Sandbox, which is still in development for the web and mobile devices.
Apple is blocking all comments on its YouTube channel, and now that Google hides dislikes on YouTube, it’s pretty hard to judge the overall sentiment regarding this ad. But overall, this is probably the most impactful ad Apple released since its “What’s a computer” iPad Pro ad from 2018, which tried (and failed?) to make the “post-PC” world imagined by Steve Jobs many years ago a reality.
What do you think of this latest ad from Apple? Whether you’re using an iPhone or not, let us know what you think in the comments below.