Whether you love or loathe Apple one thing you have to say about them is they are consistent. Their products have an incredibly strong design language and so does their brand communications, visually at least. When Apple released their new brand video focused on their green credentials the most interesting thing for me was not the content but the person delivering it. Welcome stage left, Tim Cook the lord and master of Cupertino. The video itself could easily be replaced by this piece of creative genius from Dissolve but Mr Cook’s first foray into the world of voiceovers made me wonder: What does Apple sound like?
Apple’s visual style for brand and product films has always been talking heads intercut with people using the product or products floating around in white space. This has meant that we are visually introduced to the voices and told who they are via captions featuring names and job titles. There have been a few celebrity voiceovers for TV ads but on the whole they like us to focus on the product, it is a very clean and efficient approach, more Apple branding.
This film is not about a new product, it is all about brand and most importantly the values that form it. So it makes sense to wheel out the big gun for this one and have the very man who is ultimately responsible for everything that Apple stands for and creates to be delivering the message.
From a brand perspective using Cook as a voiceover is the right thing to have done. It is no Oscar winning performance but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that rather than paying some professional voiceover to add enforced brand values to the message, Apple are using their chief brand guardian to deliver a significant message on Earth Day. Using internally sourced voiceovers isn’t always the right route, it depends on the message. The key to success is finding the message where personal delivery is the most powerful option and adds value to every word.
It could be argued that nobody recognises Cook’s voice so where is the value in using it. By the looks of all the coverage today around the launch of this film the PR department are working overtime to let us know that it is Apple’s leader that is preaching the green message and this should go someway to building the narrative.
Most significant of all, Cook has achieved something that Jobs never did. Jobs only ever did one voiceover but then refused to allow it to be used, somehow it made its way onto YouTube. He’s actually pretty good and maybe he should have considered a career doing credit card and short-term loan ads rather than making us all slaves to the iPhone.