Seriously, all four new FaceTime ads creep me out. I know they’re meant to be sentimental, but they’re simply too real. I feel like a voyeur eavesdropping on very personal interactions. It’s a place I don’t belong. It’s not my moment to share. Apple posted the commercials to YouTube on July 9th. I only discovered them today.
There’s a veiled, backhanded compliment to my creepy feelings. As an exercise in creating intimacy between two people and showing the endearing qualities a video call has over voice, the TV commercials are enormously effective. But to my watching, there’s realism, and there’s realism.
So I want to congratulate Apple’s ad agency for a job too well done. A woman telling her spouse (or partner) she’s pregnant is an intimate moment that only they should share (There’s admission to the moment’s privacy when the wife asks: “Are you alone?”). I would say the same about a sheepish daughter showing braces to her father for the first time; or a grandfather seeing his first grandchild. “How does it feel being a grandfather?” asks the son. “How does it feel being a father?” asks the dad.
Yes, there is power in the marketing message and foreshadowing of a future foretold in 60-to-70 year-old scifi dramas: Video calling. Do the commercials also foreshadow a time when the most intimate interactions take place by FaceTime rather than face to face? Like social media, which promises more personal interaction but delivers it in the most impersonal ways? What? You think Facebook Wall postings, comments or private messages are personal?
I wonder how will video calling change our mores and attitudes about privacy. It’s not like the intimate moments portrayed in the Apple commercials take place in public places. Perhaps I would feel less the voyeur if the scene settings weren’t so artificially private and the tone of callers’ voices so hesitant and emotional. But in the real world, how many people would video call where others could closely listen to and watch family matters? Perhaps I’m naive; look at about how some family members roughly treat one another in public places like fast-food restaurants or shopping malls. They act like there is no one else around them.
Video should be the future of phone calling, and Apple has magnificently — and in some ways frighteningly — portrayed the potential. The commercials are so real, they make me feel guilty to watch them. How do you feel about them?