The above ad is from the 2018 Apple launch of the iPhone X. When analyzing this, we can begin to deconstruct the ways this iPhone ad is strategically crafted in an effort to sell as many iPhone’s as possible. In this ad, Apple is intentionally targeting Western consumers living in a capitalist society.
Companies like Apple tend to thrive off of producing the ‘latest and greatest’ products, however, few consumers understand that the reason Apple is able to create such sleek yet affordable technology is because they practice exploitative labor processes. While Apple still continues to grow in size and in success, allegations of Apple’s immoral manufacturing began as early as 2016 and has been on-going ever since. In this, it was only recently that Apple openly admitted to using child labor in their supply chain in the manufacturing of the iPhone X; yet, even after their public admittance, their market and capital continues to grow. Despite public knowledge that Apple exploits children in their creation of iPhone’s, consumers continue to purchase goods from the company regardless. Furthermore, it exposes the sad reality behind North American society valuing materialism and consumerism over basic human rights.
In this particular ad, Apple is trying to connect with a consumerist society. Apple is telling consumers that by purchasing the new iPhone, they will gain access to a better phone and in turn, a better life. Apple wants consumers to believe that if they own the latest iPhone, they will feel more connected to family and friends, and they will hold a higher status in society. Additionally, this ad also employs the use of a commonly known public figure, the Dalai Lama. By inserting an image of the Dalai Lama on an iPhone background, a specific feeling is produced in the consumer. The Dalai Lama is an international icon who represents peace, love and faith. These positive feelings produced in the consumer, when they see this image, help to override any concern they may feel when deciding whether or not to purchase the product. Putting an image of the Dalai Lama on an iPhone screen distracts consumers from considering that Apple uses immoral manufacturing techniques, like child labor. When people are able to overlook unethical practices like child labor in order to acquire a product like the iPhone X, it becomes important to critically examine the effects of capitalism on people living in North American society today.
In the Jammed version of this Apple ad, I changed the photo displayed on the iPhone screen from the Dalai Lama to child workers. Through this, instead of using the Dalai Lama to provoke feelings of love and peace, the altered image of child workers, is used to expose Apple and hopefully provoke feeling of discomfort, anger and accountability. Additionally, I changed the slogan from “iPhone X, Say hello to the future”, to “iPhone X, Say hello to Child Labor and Capitalism”. With this alteration, it changes the audience’s perspective from an egotistical point of view, thinking of one’s own future, to an analytical point of view, thinking about how one’s actions play into a larger more serious issue.
The goal of the Jammed version, aimed to strip the ad of its subliminal messages, and have the altered message be explicit and straightforward. Through this, the jammed version of the Apple ad takes away any of the materialistic attraction for a sleek, affordable, user-friendly technology. Instead, it bluntly states that the same device people spend thousands of dollars on, also stands for an extreme violation of basic human rights. Bringing lights to the effects of capitalism in today’s society, we can begin to reflect on the larger picture. While most consumers are unaware of the brutal reality behind Apple’s manufacturing, it is that ignorance and absence of knowledge that keeps the business thriving. Knowing this, through exposing the effects of capitalism and consumerism, people can begin to have open conversation about it and move forward analyzing life through a more critical lens. Gaining awareness of the hegemonic structure of a capitalist society, is the key to deconstructing Western ideologies and questioning the true intentions of companies like Apple.