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Apple Superbowl Commercial


TRIBE Member

Four children bullied by the Recording Industry Association of America will re-enact their shame for tens of millions of TV viewers today, at the behest of two giant American corporations: Apple Computer and Pepsi Cola Inc.

Instead of using actors to dramatize their shame, the RIAA, Apple and Pepsi have forced the children themselves to conform with the copyright regime, and to look suitably browbeaten as a series of captions reads: INCRIMINATED … ACCUSED … BUSTED … CHARGED.

Is this a medieval costume drama? A low-budget dramatization of some era of America's dark and troubled past, recorded by Hawthorne, when public humiliations were commonplace? Or is it some strange and sadistic imported Japanese game show - the kind where people assent to be filmed eating worms ?

No, it's a home-grown artifact which will be broadcast at great expense across the nation during the annual US Superbowl sport event today. The advertisement features four victims of the RIAA's legal jihad wearing the Scarlet Letter of their own shame for the benefit of the TV cameras - and quite disgustingly, the RIAA insisted that the agency couldn't hire stand-in actors to replay the script, insisting that the 'perpetrators' play themselves : a move which is likely to go down in history as one of the greatest public relations disasters in history.

But let’s bear with it. This shameful advertisement - which apparently cost the Apple Computer company as much as $2 million, was entirely home grown, and has a very moral payload. The broadcast encourages children to buy as much teeth-rotting Pepsi soda as they can in the hope of finding a token that allows them to a free, DRM-infected piece of Pepsi Cola.

Lucky them!

Ironies abound, as you might imagine. Where shall we start?

Well the Apple Computer isn't the only party that wants to exploit abused children, on this most of American of Sundays. MoveOn made a submission, also featuring children, but found itself rejected because it was deemed to represent a 'special interest group'. We're not sure what vacuum these arbites of public taste live in. But with three of the four constituents of the entertainment industry - consumers, device manufacturers and artists - eager to discuss fairer compensation models, it's hard to see any other conclusion than that the RIAA is a very, very special interest group indeed.

There's more. Suburban pub-rock 'punks' Green Day recorded a version of I Fought The Law And The Law Won for the occasion, to provide a soundtrack for the pigopolist lobby group.

And how reputations crumble. Twenty years ago, let's not forget, Apple used a Superbowl TV intermission to introduce its iconographic Macintosh computer with the image of an athlete smashing Big Brother. The easy-to-use computer proved to be a liberating tool for personal creativity and with Adobe's Postscript and Aldus' software, created the desktop publishing industry. Now the same Apple is endeavoring to reduce personal freedoms by ushering in a regime where the recording industry enforces copyright with Big Brother's iron fist.

The exercise will be lost on the children of Apple founder Steve Jobs, however. He wisely doesn't allow his kids to watch TV, or drink sickly sodas, advocating Odwalla's excellent fruit juices instead. Do as he does, not as he says, we suggest.

For more coherent models - which make nonsense of such corporate child-abuse - we suggest you check out the mathematics here. ®
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


TRIBE Member
I believe it is actually more of a Pepsi commercial. I don't think there is anything shameful about it. Pepsi is paying the kids that are in the ad so that they can cover the costs of the lawsuits that the RIAA laid against them. It is a unique way for the company to help out those who were singled out by the RIAA, and at the same time, create an intereting commercial to showcase it's promotion of offering free, legal music.

Cheers ... Ian :)


TRIBE Member
Perhaps I'd be more behind the idea if it was the adults being used. Having kids admit their guilt to an international audience seems like it could have future implications for them - especially since so many of the RIAA's tactics in these lawsuits seem to be backfiring with some of the suits being dismissed.


TRIBE Member
oh, who cares? seriously - the kids got paid for it, no one's actually seen how the ad plays out yet and besides - the very fact that the ipod supports the mp3 format indicates Apple's tacit support of file sharing. People aren't buying ipods just so they can use apple's DRM AAC files from the iTMS... they're buying them to (like me) listen to vast amounts of mp3s downloaded from the net.

The spin I'd heard was that they play it like the kids have been through all this RIAA crap and they're still getting songs for free - courtesy of Pepsi's 100 million free song promotion. Say what you will but it's a good deal.

Add to this, there's a benevolent group supporting independant artists listed on apple's iTMS site that is using the pepsi codes to buy their songs exclusively, over and over - which is a very good thing.

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The Tesseract

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oh yay,... another left-wing commercial rejected by the sadistic right-wing pricks that run everything from government to media.

case sensitive

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The Apple commerical in question is going to be my "marketing highlight" for the applied marketing course I'm taking, should be an interesting presentation.