Consumers Love Apple's 'Elitist' Celebrity Siri Ads

More Effective Than Recent Other Apple Spots, According to Ace Metrix

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Apple's new Siri campaign starring Samuel L. Jackson and Zooey Deschanel drew the ire of Ad Age TV Editor Brian Steinberg this week, but turns out consumers love them. If you believe ad-effectiveness company Ace Metrix, in fact, they're rejuvenating the Apple brand.

Zooey Deschanel using Siri in an Apple ad
Zooey Deschanel using Siri in an Apple ad

The two ads were the most-effective ads to premiere in the week ending April 20, according to the company. They were also the second- and third-most effective mobile phone commercials of 2012 based on Ace Metrix measures, right behind Samsung's Galaxy Note campaign, which has been airing since February and was the most effective ad of the quarter.

Apple's two new ads are also indexing well above its recent work, which "had been falling rather flat," according to Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll.

"These ads performed very well, especially with younger women, who did not react as strongly to Apple's more feature-focused ads from earlier in the year," said Mr. Daboll in a statement accompanying the new results. "Celebrity ads are risky, as many celebrities can be polarizing. In these latest ads, Apple has chosen wisely, using celebrities with broad appeal."

Earlier this week, Ad Age critiqued the ads as casting the iPhone and Siri as tools of the elite, a "rare misstep" and "horribly out of touch with modern consumer culture." The ads star two well-paid celebrities coping with the concerns and ennui of the 1%: Mr. Jackson searching for "organic mushrooms for my risotto" (he later graciously gives his assistant Siri the night off) and a bored Ms. Deschanel hearing rain and asking, "Is it raining?"

As Mr. Steinberg said, that tone clashes with some of Apple's most successful messaging, which celebrate its users as iconoclasts willing to rise up against corporate hegemony.

Yet those ads scored 653 and 645 on Ace Metrics' scale (Ms. Deschanel scored higher) compared with Apple's average score of 620. Mr. Daboll said the company's previous, feature-focused campaign had been scoring below Apple's average.

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