Apple’s latest commercial is advertising the Earth.
In a rare topical turn for the company, the ad makes a lofty appeal for environmentalism at a moment when such efforts face historic threats from Donald Trump’s administration.
“Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand,” the late astronomer Carl Sagan says in the ad’s voiceover. “It underscores the responsibility to deal more cleanly with one another and to preserve and cherish the only home we’ve ever known.”
Climate change is never explicitly mentioned. Nor are any of the many other problems the planet’s facing. But the gist is clear, and the broad language actually packs a bigger punch.
The ad debuted during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.
That tone works much better when applied to climate change’s colossal existential threat to life on Earth than, say, the Apple Pencil.
Apple can also put its money where its mouth is. It’s positioned acting on climate change as a core value of the company. It already powers nearly all its data centers, offices and retail stores worldwide with renewable energy sources, and is working to clean up its vast supply chain in developing nations such as China. Cook personally called President Donald Trump to try to persuade him to remain in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, an entreaty which did not succeed.
The timely cause is a departure from Apple’s usual apolitical marketing. While CEO Tim Cook often comments on the topics of the day, Apple mostly sat out the growing trend towards social commentary in advertising until now.
The ad isn’t pure altruism, of course; it’s also a continuation of Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign that pulls from user footage to show off the device’s camera.