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Why Apple Didn’t Have a Super Bowl Ad



Super Bowl commercials are as famous as the game. If done right, possibly more memorable.

Who played in the 1984 Super Bowl? Who knows. But I bet most of you know the famous Apple 1984 commercial even if you didn’t see it aired live on January 22nd 1984.

This year Samsung took to the Super Bowl airwaves to poke fun at Apple with the Samsung Galaxy Note launch, Apple was nowhere to be found.

This morning Mashable asked, Why Didn’t Apple Advertise During the Super Bowl? To read this piece, you’d think Apple cancelled the iPhone 5 and shut up shop.

Apple Super Bowl ad

Apple doesn't need a Super Bowl ad.

Lance Ulanoff argues that Apple is in trouble. Without Steve Jobs around to fight, Apple is letting the competition shape the discussion and argument. But even more so, he suggests that Apple is in trouble because they don’t have a new product to announce at an arbitrary sporting event that dominates the news for the rest of the week. And goes even further to suggest that Apple should have teased an Apple TV to the world during the Super Bowl.

Would Steve Jobs have wanted to launch a counter attack? I’m sure the man who vowed to spend his dying breath and Apple’s bank roll to “destroy Android” would have loved to crush Samsung during a major commercial event. But Jobs wasn’t someone who let the competition dictate when Apple jumped. This is evident in Apple’s no-show at CES every year, stepping away from MacWorld and the company’s decision to hold special events for product launches where they dictate the news for weeks.

Ulanoff is right about the lack of a significant new hardware introduction from Apple in the past year, but I don’t share his worries that Apple isn’t ready to talk about the iPad 3, iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4G) and the rumored Apple TV.

Apple has been riding the buzz of new products for the past year, but it has also been riding the buzz of products for all of recent memory. As soon as the iPad 3, iPhone 5 and iTV or Apple TV are announced we’ll be buzzing about the next generation. In fact, we typically begin craving the next-next generation of Apple products before the currently rumored hardware is announced.

Even without a significant hardware upgrade, Apple sold 37 million iPhones and 15 million iPads during the last part of 2012.

Ulanoff argues that staying out of the Super Bowl is letting Samsung frame the discussion, but joining in with a teaser for the new Apple TV, as he suggests, would be the real sign that Apple had caved.

Apple lives on buzz, but Apple never comments on buzz and never lets the rumors of a new product dictate when or what it will announce. I disagree with Ulanoff’s claim that Steve Jobs would have fought Samsung with a teaser ad for the next Apple TV. Steve Jobs was a showman and a fighter, not a teaser.

I’m glad to see that Tim Cook, Apple’s new CEO didn’t choose to tease a yet announced Apple product at the Super Bowl.

Watch all the 2012 Super Bowl Tech Ads





  1. MacDaddy

    02/06/2012 at 4:06 pm

    Apple didn’t need to place an ad. Did you see the Giants players shooting video of the Lombardi trophy as Raymond Berry carried it through them? Most of them were using iPhones. That was a lot longer than 90 seconds, and it was for real. No ad.

    Even Matthew Broderick got into the act. He was using an iPhone in the Honda ad.

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