Apple Severely Lacking In The Sense Of Humor Department

By Jennifer Farley
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You may have seen this video clip earlier in the week, but if you missed it, this is from the Ellen show. Ellen had made an iPhone parody advertisement and guess who didn’t find it amusing? The ad closely resembles many of the iPhone 3GS ads you’ve undoubtedly seen on TV, where the camera is closeup on the phone with a set of fingers whizzing through the applications at an impressive pace. In Ellen’s ad, it’s pretty much the same set up, except she doesn’t find it quite so easy to use. Her voice-over adds to the visual account of the struggle to press the right buttons on the screen.

Apple complained about the parody and Ellen it seems was required to make an apology.

Sometimes I talk about a product and it’s a good thing, and sometimes it’s not so good at all. I got in trouble recently because of a…well, today I got in trouble…

They thought I made it look like it’s hard to use, and I just want to say that I’m sorry if I made it like the iPhone is hard to use. It’s not hard to use. I have an iPhone. Portia has an iPhone. I just learned how to text on an iPhone, it’s the only phone that I can text on, and I love it. I love my iPad, I love my iPod. I love IHOP, if you have anything to do with that.

I thought the fake ad was pretty funny. I like my iPhone too and I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels like they’ve got Homer Simpson-esque fingers when they’re using it. So will Steve Jobs be sending the boys around any time someone makes a joke about an Apple product?  This makes them look pretty sad and the fact that Ellen is pretty much laughing the whole way through the apology is a good thing, showing the contempt the whole thing deserves.

What did you think about Ellen’s iPhone ad and subsequent apology?

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  • Andre

    I’m not sure this is being represented completely honestly…
    Lots of people reporting this have used words like “forced” and “required”.
    Really? You force a HUGE talk show host with a HUGE viewership, just like that? Really? Jon Stewart? Really?

    I haven’t seen ONE report where anyone actually said “Apple issued an intent to sue…” or anything like that. I’m guessing she got a call saying ” Hey Ellen, that spoof wasn’t nice. We’ve worked hard to make our brand sparkly clean, and a big star like yourself can do a lot of damage, even in a joke (which we totally get, haha) y’know? Play nice, wouldya?”

    Forced? Not so sure about that…
    Apple hater fodder? Now that sounds more like the current climate…

    • Hi Andre
      Yes I take your point about using the words forced and required. I can’t say that Ellen was was forced to do anything. There was obviously some strong suggestion for her to apologise though and it seems like a sad state of affairs. I’m not an Apple hater, I have an iphone which I like apart from that I would say I’m indifferent at best. They seem to be getting scarier as time goes on.

      • Long ago, Apple realized it was a corporation (around the time of John Sculley, maybe?) and not a group of libertarian hippies who made terrific products. For years it has behaved like your basic corporation — thuggishly trampling over the rights and prerogatives of its customers, and thrashing around like a dinosaur stuck in a tar pit in its incessant quest to market itself to the top.

        Now, when will someone parody the “I’m a PC, and Windows 7 was my idea” claptrap?

  • TheMonk

    I think this really shows Apple’s true colors. This is not the first time they’ve strong armed people who don’t share their point of view. They’ve done it to bloggers, they’ve done it to fans that share what they think is too much. And they use some questionable practices to keep other companies in check, see Adobe and flash as of late.
    Now don’t get me wrong other companies do this too however they don’t have this mystique about them that they can do no wrong. It’s strange how many people believe that if apple just says it’s good that means it’s good. It’s as though white shiny electronics make reason and sound judgment go out the window.
    Unfortunately I think the fact that Ellen even apologizes disappointing. She has every right to parody a product and clearly has done nothing wrong. If Apple really wants to be the best at their chosen markets they have to accept that others will parody and knock them. That’s life.
    I just wish people would stop kowtowing to them and treat them like any other hardware vendor and that includes Ellen. If Acer made a killer product and Ellen skewered them would she apologize too? I wonder.
    Disclaimer I’m not a regular Mac user, but I’m around them all day and am very familiar with their products. My post isn’t about whether their product is good but more about the cult of “personality” that somehow surrounds them.

  • TheMonk

    Ack preview somehow removed hard returns between paragraphs. Sorry for the wall of text. :T

  • Anonymous

    I was at my parent’s the other day and actually saw the fake commercial and found it quite funny.

    I think Apple has an AK-47 and they just can’t resist shooting themselves in the foot over and over again with all this bad publicity they’re self-inflicting. I think before much longer it’s going to catch up with them.

  • Yes, as more and more stories of Apple’s paranoid modus operandi come to light, you wonder if the company won’t eventually self destruct. They should be confident enough about the quality of their products that they aren’t afraid of jokes like this.

    But as one (among many thousands) who have suffered from faulty Apple products (in my case a faulty MacBook Pro—a backlighting problem that thousands of others experienced, and which Apple never bothered to fix), I’m also aware of another aspect of their modus operandi, which is to ignore problems with their products and hope that the larger community doesn’t find out about them.

  • Clintonio

    Remember when the government used to censor us?

    That sucked.

    Now, why are we self-censoring again?

  • JHig310336

    I don’t she was forced to apologize but I do think she was legally threaten. Product slander? Company’s name and rep slander, maybe? But what this does show is she did get a call from Apple”s legal dept and was asked to retract that joke.

    Goes to show, Apple doesn’t have a sense of humor about itself but has plenty of humor charging people $3000 for a laptop or an expensive shoddy phone stuck on the joke of an ATT platform. Now there is the joke … yet I don’t think Apple users have caught on to this joke.

    I’ve never owned and Apple product and never will. If Apple was the last technology on the planet, I’d option for Pre-Historic ways of getting the job done. Hand me that pencil and that sheet of paper, please!

  • Vadim P

    Hey, well, now she feels just like the developers who are left out feeling stupid after their app got rejected because of yet another draconian policy.

    Maybe this will start to take people up from Apple’s marketing coolaid and realize that all technology Apple isn’t god.

  • USPatriot

    Yes! Finally Microsoft isn’t the #1 Bad Guy in the world now. Gates should sleep easy tonight.

  • Matt

    that wasn’t funny in the slightest…

    • Dick

      Yes it was, fanboy.

  • WTFrank

    I thought the above vid was another parody of Apple by Ellen.
    Is there any proof other than Ellen stating that Apple contacted her? If they had threatened to sue, why would she show the clip of the first parody?
    I think it’s a bit like the Andy Kaufman humor of the 80’s. Made up to look real but is supposedly a joke.

    • Jason

      I doubt Apple threatened anyone – but they more likely strongly recommended they would not advertise with anyone affiliated with Ellen until a retraction was made public.

      Apple wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in court, but the power of advertising dollars can be 1000 time more persuasive when it starts going to competitors.

      Apple has ALWAYS been petty and arrogant and it trickles down like a waterfall. The iPad looks like a clown product prop, but all the tech bloggers are falling over themselves to say how ‘life changing’ it will be. A big touchscreen mobile phone that reads books ebooks is not life changing – it is a distraction from important things.

      • “I doubt Apple threatened anyone – but they more likely strongly recommended they would not advertise with anyone affiliated with Ellen until a retraction was made public.”

        Ummm…. That’s a threat ; )

  • mdwong

    If Apple did complain and demand an apology, then they should have just let it go. Ellen’s “apology” featured a replay of the offending ad, so in case you missed its nationally televised debut, you go to see its nationally televised replay. Ellen’s demeanor during the “apology” was also less than sincere. I’d say she came out on top in this one.