If Apple can, why can’t you?

The iPhone 6 campaign isn’t just a great example of poster advertising, it also improves our urban environment, says Paul Belford in his latest CR column…

Shot on iPhone 6. A campaign so simple and minimal they even dispensed with the word ‘an’. Those clever folks at Apple certainly think different(ly) to your average advertiser.

We seem to be living through an unfortunate blip in the world of marketing. Where most ad agencies are cynically scrambling to out-bullshit each other with all manner of tech gimmickry and scam product innovations masquerading as communications strategies.

Somewhat ironically, it takes a tech company to show them how advertising should be done.


Funny isn’t it, how the most successful company in the entire history of civilisation concentrates their advertising budget on press, poster and TV? Media that every ad agency is furiously running away from in a fatally misguided attempt to appear more ‘modern’. I rest my case.

Anyway, back to one of the best campaigns you’ll see this year. Maybe even the best. In the hardest medium of them all. Posters.

These deceptively simple ads inarguably demonstrate what a fantastic camera the iPhone 6 has. And in an age when we share over 1.8 billion photos per day via our smart-phones, surely that’s a pretty appealing benefit.

These are basically great demo ads (remember them?). And what better way to demonstrate the potential of the camera than to take wonderful photos and blow them up to poster size? Persuasively illustrating the quality of the lens, the power of the processor and the high resolution. I’m sold. This is advertising you can actually believe and remember. Because it’s impressive.

It’s also beautiful. And devoid of all the ugly crap that advertisers invariably inflict on us. No dumb embarrassing end-line. No multiple logos (I’m certain that anyone else would have done some sort of stupid deal that would have demanded a row of Instagram, Snapseed, VSCO Cam, Mextures, Afterlight, Filterstorm Neue, Camera+, Flickr, Instaflash Pro, olloclip Photo Lens and Adobe Photoshop Express logos across the base of these posters. Logos that no viewer would ever take in and would completely ruin the impact).


There’s no pack shot. No small print. And no crass typography fighting the image. Yet these posters couldn’t be better branded. When will advertisers learn that branding is all about the quality of the communication, the hierarchy of the communication and good design. Not the biggest logo size.

The campaign is all about the pictures, so the art direction becomes all about the pictures. Images not by famous photographers but by people we’ve never heard of. Amateurs. Thereby further demonstrating what a great camera it is – if they can do it, then surely so can I.

But these ads also demonstrate one other important thing. That advertisers have a social responsibility.

I would strongly argue that truly effective poster advertising like this improves the urban environment and brightens the viewer’s day by its presence. Will the campaign you’re working on right now do that?

Paul Belford is the founder of agency Paul Belford Ltd, and tweets via @Belford_Paul. This article appears in the May issue of Creative Review, out next week. The iPhone 6 World Gallery is at Agency: TBWAMedia Arts Lab; Client: Apple