Apple apologizes for upsetting "Crush" ad

To promote its new iPads, Apple produced an ad titled "Crush" which depicts musical instruments, artwork and other wondrous human creations being crushed by an enormous hydraulic press, leaving behind only the amazingly thin iPad. For lack of a better term, the ad fell flat: it was disturbing and alarming, especially given how much tech companies are investing in AI tools that might replace human artists entirely. Now Apple is apologizing for the ad, a rare (and fast) admission of fault from one of the world's largest publicly-traded companies.

In a statement provided to Ad Age, Tor Myhren, Apple's vice president of marketing, said the company "missed the mark."

"Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it's incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world," Myhren told Ad Age. "Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad. We missed the mark with this video, and we're sorry."

That the ad was very similar to one produced by LG in 2008 can't have helped. According to Ad Age, Apple's ad was made "in-house" but produced by a small outside agency, which might explain both the mangled messaging and the undetected similarity to a competitor's advertisement.

One fascinating thing: the crush ad works when you reverse it. Instead of everything being destroyed and replaced by the iPad, it emerges from it—the intended message.

Online chatterboxes claim that all the fuss means the ad was a success. The old saw about any publicity being good publicity. If anything, this week told us that this isn't really true, even for the kind of people who bank everything on it being true.