A view from Unruly

Apple finds its funny side again, and seals it with 'The Kiss'

Social video expert Unruly reviews the latest viral by Apple.

Counter to Apple's occasional self-seriousness, 'The Kiss' is a spot that revels in poking fun at itself. It's always interesting to see such a powerful marketing force staying limber with its creative. 8/10

Apple has done a lot with its advertising. Over the years, it has made us weep, and work out. It has strived to inspire and to get us dancing. It has told simple stories and blurred the line between advertising and cinematic ambition. The world’s most famously image-conscious tech company has been many things for many people, but there’s one trick it hasn’t tried in some time.

Being funny.

OK – anyone who remembers these charming chaps knows that Apple isn’t a total stranger to laughs, but it’s certainly been awhile. This is why it’s more than a little surprising that the company’s latest ad campaign, which pushes its set-top box Apple TV, plays like a straightforward comedy sketch. No montages, no inspirational music; just set-up and punchline.

‘The Kiss’ finds two actors preparing to shoot an onscreen kiss by watching clips from intimate scenes on their Apple TV. The spot stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Alison Brie, who may not be household names, but viewers will almostly certainly recognise from roles on Game of Thrones (Coster-Waldau), Community and Mad Men (Brie). After all, in an ad devoted to the helping hand of television, it seems appropriate to feature two actors who’ve contributed to some of the medium’s best-loved programmes of the past decade.

Counter to Apple’s occasional self-seriousness, ‘The Kiss’ is a spot that revels in poking fun at itself. With Brie trying to analyse the perfect screen kiss (watching Coster-Waldau kissing Juliette Binoche in the 2013 film 1,000 Times Good Night, she asks: "What angle are you guys at here? Is that 25 degrees?"), Coster-Waldau becomes increasingly frustrated at Siri’s intrusion into the moment and eventually takes control of the Apple Remote to try a different approach.

Asking Siri to play musician Jeremih, 2016’s mood-setter of choice, the actor does his best impression of the seductive character he plays on telly. Unfortunately for him, he’s no Jaime Lannister. For fans of Game of Thrones, this will certainly be a different perspective on the Danish actor, who clearly relishes hamming up his role as a romantically-challenged dork. Brie, better known for her comedic work, is similarly at home in her role. "We’re over-thinking it," she tells the rebuffed Coster-Waldau.

So what does this step toward silliness mean for Apple? Can we expect more gag-fuelled antics from the Cupertino powerhouse?

While ‘The Kiss’ may be the latest humorous ad from the brand, it follows hot on the heels of last week’s ‘Timer’.  Supporting the iPhone 6s, this spot featured a different sort of TV celebrity entirely: Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster. In a terrifically simple concept, the ad finds the googly-eyed blue monster using Siri’s hands-free timer feature to get through the painful wait while his cookies are in the oven. It’s silly, lovable and features a bang-on punchline. This all seems to have a hit a chord with viewers, who have shared the spot more than 200,000 times since its release last week. This, as well as the positive press the ad has received, more or less ensures that we’ll be seeing more jokes from Apple in the near future.

With ‘The Kiss’ and ‘Timer’ under its belt, the stage is set for Apple to expand its comic horizons. Who knows what could be next: a sitcom, a stand-up persona, a four-movie Netflix deal? Jokes aside, it’s always interesting to see such a powerful marketing force staying limber with its creative.

On the basis of these two ads, we’re looking forward to what’s to come.