Apple's iPhone ad puts your data on the auction block

Spot directed by Smuggler's Ivan Zacharias colorfully illustrates privacy risks to your personal info

Published On
May 19, 2022

Editor's Pick

Every day as you use your phone to browse the web, send emails and text messages and shop online, your personal data gets collected, sold and put on the auction block by data exchange platforms. Apple makes this all too real in its latest humorous iPhone privacy ad, which imagines the sale of your data in a real-world, high-stakes auction. 

The new ad, created out of TBWA\Chiat\Day Media Arts Lab and directed by Ivan Zacharias via Smuggler, opens on a young woman named Ellie, who browses through vinyl at a record shop. 

She finds herself drawn to a corner where she encounters a door with a sign reading “Ellie’s Data Auction.” There, she sees an auctioneer and nattily dressed buyers raise their paddles in the hopes of owning the precious details of her life: her email (the ones she’s opened and read), her drugstore purchases, location data, contacts and browsing history. Just as the host is about to announce the most valuable item, Ellie taps her iPhone to turn on various privacy features, sending all the buyers and sellers into oblivion. 

“It’s your data,” copy then reads. “IPhone helps keep it that way.”

The YouTube version of the new ad directs viewers to Apple’s site, where they can read more about the iPhone’s various data protection offerings, such as the Safari browser’s “intelligent tracking prevention,” maps’ location data protection, text messaging only seen by the sender and the receiver, and more.

The songs featured in the film are “Fantasy” by Esquivel and “Playground” by More Giraffes and Sweater Beats. The spot will be running on broadcast, social and online.

It’s the latest in Apple’s “Privacy. That’s iPhone” campaign, which previously included another fun ad depicting a growing horde of followers encroaching on a man’s life.