Apple's iPhone privacy ad stars people 'oversharing' about their pregnancy tests, divorce lawyers and credit card info

Spot about brand's commitment to protecting user data has unfortunate timing as brand postpones its most aggressive new controls on app developers

Published On
Sep 03, 2020

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Apple has pulled some of its best creative moves when it comes to promoting the privacy offerings of its products. Notably, there was the brand’s surprise appearance at CES on a massive billboard that poked fun at its main rivals. A humorous ad also illustrated how annoying it is when others intrude on personal moments of using a urinal or putting on makeup. Now, in a new ad created with TBWA/Media Arts Lab, the brand is getting hyperbolic, depicting people “over sharing” ridiculous things—like their credit card information, user name and password, thoughts about co-workers, pregnancy test purchases and divorce attorney searches. 

Each scene of the satirical ad is tailored to specific data privacy offerings of the iPhone. An office scene of two colleagues blurting out their text conversations about their workplace and coworkers is meant to highlight end-to-end encryption of iMessages, so that they’re only seen by the sender and recipients, not Apple.

A commuter on public transport tells fellow passengers that he “browsed eight sites for divorce attorneys today”—a scenario showcasing how Safari’s “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” helps prevent advertisers from stalking you on other sites.  

Scenes of a woman broadcasting her credit card number and another announcing her purchase of prenatal vitamins and pregnancy tests are meant to illustrate how such information remains solely with the user and again, not Apple.

As a whole, the spot asserts that for Apple, the idea of “smart device” and “privacy” are not mutually exclusive, and how the company's business doesn't depend on monetizing its customers' data.

The end copy on the ad reads, “Some things shouldn’t be shared. iPhone keeps it that way. Privacy. That’s iPhone,” followed by the cleverly tweaked logo the brand has been using in its privacy messaging. In place of the leaf, there’s an upside down “u,” representing the shackle of a padlock, animated to click into a “locked” position to further punctuate the ad’s message.

In a bit of unfortunate timing, however, Apple did ease back on one of its most aggressive pro-privacy moves today just as the ad debuted. It offered a reprieve to app developers by saying it will wait until next year to introduce a strict new privacy control, which covers the way apps are able to collect the type of data called out in the spot.

Contributing: Garett Sloane