Ad of the Day: Walter White Will Make You Want to Buy an iPad Air

Apple taps Bryan Cranston to narrate TV spot

Headshot of Emma Bazilian

It’s been nearly four weeks since the finale of AMC’s Breaking Bad, and the show’s fans are now going through a withdrawal nearly as intense as when Jesse quit the H and got shipped off to rehab. (But hopefully with fewer cold sweats). Thankfully, Apple is sneaking us a little taste of the good stuff—no, not blue meth—in a new TV spot for the just-released iPad Air, narrated by none other than Bryan Cranston himself.

Taking a cue from the visual trickery of a certain scene in Breaking Bad’s final episode (you’ll know it when you see it—no spoilers here), the star of most of the ad isn't an iPad, but an old-fashioned No. 2 pencil. “It’s an extremely simple tool, but also extremely powerful,” intones the voice of Cranston, channeling more of a Walter White vibe than Heisenberg. “It’s used to illustrate things, solve things and think of new things,” he continues, as the background image flashes from library to boardroom to lab to classroom.

But then the big reveal: Cranston hasn't really been singing the praises of a graphite-filled stick this whole time. A hand reaches down and shows us that the ad’s real star is a super-sleek iPad Air, which had previously been concealed from view by the pencil. It’s a smart, if not exactly inventive, visual device to illustrate just how slim the new iPad is (and why you should immediately toss aside your now-bulky iPad 3 and shell out another $600 or so for the latest version). But that’s beside the point. It's really Cranston's smooth, reassuring narration that's doing most of the convincing here. Now, if Apple could only make that the voice of Siri …

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.