October 1, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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Apple Answers To Mother Nature

It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature and Apple wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing.

The company mines precious metals to use in its products and creates a non-renewable waste stream from these same products, and runs massive data centers that suck electricity all day every day, nevertheless, Apple is aligned with Mother Nature. That’s what this new piece of branded content says, and who are we to argue with the richest company on Earth?

The five-minute short featuring Octavia Spencer as a no-nonsense Mother Nature was created in-house and directed by Rhys Thomas of Stink Films.

The piece is jammed with critical facts packaged into talking points. “Show, don’t tell,” may be a strong piece of advertising craft advice, but the memo was not received in Cupertino.

Key points buried in the dialogue:

  • Apple is in the process of eliminating all plastic from its packaging by the end of next year
  • Apple is currently using 100 percent recycled aluminum in its products
  • Apple is fazing out leather in its iPhone cases
  • Apple is operating on 100 percent clean electricity
  • Apple is shipping more products by sea which reduces emissions by 95 percent
  • Apple has planted forests in Paraguay, Brazil, and elsewhere to help remove carbon from the atmosphere
  • Apple has reduced its water usage by 63 billion gallons
  • Apple has introduced its first carbon-neutral product—the new Apple Watch— and promises to make all

I’m impressed by the work Apple is doing but I’m not wowed by the pitch here. The best line in the video is when Mother Nature says, “This is my third corporate responsibility gig today, so who wants to disappoint me first?” I like that Apple’s updated depiction of Mother Nature has an attitude, but I don’t like that her fabricated personality and lines overshadow the message.

There are also unanswered questions here. Like why does Apple care so much about protecting the environment and reducing harm? Is it good for business or simply the right thing to do?

Apple’s market capitalization of nearly $3B puts it on equal footing with the Gross Domestic Product of nations like South Korea, Australia, and Brazil. It seems like there’s an untold story here about how Apple is the one company that can do this. Apple has the money and the roots in 1960s idealism to make this work.

Steve Jobs correctly understood that the personal computer would change the world. Here we are inside this change. Today, we have a more informed and connected public than ever before. And a large portion of the billions of individuals who make up this public knows that the planet is ailing.

There’s no room for greenwashing in an informed society. Actions matter and Apple is a company that acts (sometimes for the benefit of all). Because this is true and because it matters, I’d like to see the company’s earth-friendly talking points dramatized and made into the kind of iconic advertising Apple used to be known for.


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