TBWA\MAL Raises the Bar with ‘The Song’ for Apple

By Erik Oster Comment

Last year, TBWA\Media Arts Lab created one of the most memorable holiday ads with their sentimental “Misunderstood” spot for Apple. Now the agency is back with another holiday effort that’s even more emotional.

In “The Song,” a young woman finds a Voice-O-Graph record — which, as Adweek describes it, “allowed people in the 1940s and ’50s to record their voice directly to vinyl records” — her grandmother made for her grandfather when they couldn’t be together for the holidays. She studies the song, learns to play it for herself and, using her MacBook Air, records her voice over her grandmothers to create “A Duet” and loads it on an iPod as a gift. The emotional climax occurs as she watches from the stairs as her grandmother listens to the song.

As in “Misunderstood,” this new effort shows a young person using Apple’s products to create a heartfelt, original gift. But while “Misunderstood” presented the gift as a reveal meant to be surprise viewers, in “The Song,” the viewer is aware of the protagonist’s intentions from early on, which makes the viewer feel complicit in the action and makes the emotional ending all the more powerful. If TBWA/Media Arts Lab set the bar for emotional holiday ads with last year’s effort, “The Song” clears it easily. Now this one will be hard to top.

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