Apple's iPad Pro Ad Hits a Cultural Wall in Japan

Apple's iPad Pro ad stumbles on Japan's reverence for creative tools

Apple's iPad Pro Ad Hits a Cultural Wall in Japan

Apple's latest ad for the iPad Pro, meant to showcase the device's versatility in consolidating various creative tools, has struck a sour note with many Japanese users.

The ad depicts a giant press machine crushing musical instruments, cameras, and art supplies, symbolically compacting their functions into the thin tablet. However, this metaphor has rubbed Japanese viewers the wrong way, sparking a wave of criticism and backlash.

In a culture that deeply cherishes and reveres creative tools and craftsmanship, the sight of these objects being destroyed has proven unsettling. Japanese users have flooded social media with comments expressing discomfort, disappointment, and even sadness at the ad's portrayal.

"I felt sad when I saw creative tools such as musical instruments and cameras being destroyed. I don't think the creators will like this video. Is it my Japanese sensibility that makes me feel this way?" one user lamented.

Another commented, "It is a heartbreaking, uncomfortable, and egotistic advertisement. When I see this result, I'm ashamed to buy Apple products since nineteen years."

Apple video for iPad Pro rubs creatives the wrong way | Cult of Mac

The backlash highlights a significant cultural disconnect between Apple's intended message and the values held by its Japanese user base.

While the ad aimed to showcase the iPad Pro's consolidation of various creative tools into a single device, many Japanese viewers perceived it as a disrespectful and tone-deaf portrayal of cherished objects.

"I can't relate to this video at all. It lacks any respect for creative equipment and mocks the creators," one user expressed, echoing the sentiments of many others.

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Some even suggested that Steve Jobs, known for his design ethos and appreciation for craftsmanship, would have disapproved of the ad's approach.

The backlash underscores the importance of cultural sensitivity in advertising, especially for global brands with diverse customer bases. While Apple's ad may have resonated with some audiences, it has stumbled upon a deep-rooted cultural value in Japan – the reverence for creative tools and the art of craftsmanship.

As the criticism continues to mount, it remains to be seen how Apple will address this misstep and navigate the cultural complexities of its global market. For now, the iPad Pro ad serves as a reminder that even the most innovative products can face roadblocks when they clash with deeply ingrained cultural values.

Update: According to The Verge, Apple has apologised, saying their ad "missed the mark."