Siri Ads Featuring John Malkovich Are Officially Apple’s Worst Ads In Years

Siri Ads Featuring John Malkovich Are Officially Apple’s Worst Ads In Years

Malkovich has Siri telling jokes, but Apple's fans are far from amused.

Apple has produced some of the most memorable adverts in history. Its “1984” commercial for the original Macintosh is still talked about today, and we can all remember the “Mac vs. PC” commercials, and the dancing silhouettes that were used to promote the iPod. However, it hasn’t quite been the same story in recent years.

Despite promoting incredibly popular products like the iPhone and the iPad, Apple’s most recent commercials have been far from unforgettable. In fact, the CEO of one ad-tracking firm has revealed that Apple is being mocked for its latest Siri commercials, which employ celebrities to sell a feature that rarely works in real life.

In a profile of Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, who controls the company’s massive $1 billion advertising budget, Bloomberg Businessweek talks about Apple’s recent ad campaigns. It focuses on the recent iPhone 4S ads in particular, which use celebrities to promote Siri:

Apple’s latest spots feature celebrities using Siri, the iPhone’s voice-recognition feature. It’s a departure for a company that typically avoids celebrity endorsements, and so far they’re falling flat by Apple standards, says Peter Daboll, CEO of ad-tracking firm Ace Metrix.

Daboll revealed that Apple’s John Malkovich ad, entitled “Life,” scored just 559 points on Ace Metrix’s 900-point scale.

“They haven’t been in the 500s in years,” he says. The ads have met with mockery in some circles, in part because the actors’ experience with Siri is laughably different from real-life uses of the imperfect technology. Customers have even filed a class action against Apple claiming Siri doesn’t work as advertised.

Trip Chowdry, an analyst with Global Equities Research suggests that the biggest problem with Apple’s most recent ads is that they’re glorified to make certain products appear more spectacular than they actually are. The Siri ones are a perfect example of that, and so are the commercials for the latest iPad, according to Chowdry, which promote its “resolutionary” Retina display, “which is nice but not exactly revolutionary.”

  • Brian Gregory May

    I thought these ads were absolutely hysterical. Also, I disagree with this: “…the actors’ experience with Siri is laughably different from real-life uses of the imperfect technology …” Siri gave me the same responses when I said, “linguica” and “life.” Additionally, I cracked up with John Malkovich started laughing as soon as Siri started her joke. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I love these commercials.

  • bootedbear

    I liked the commercial as it showed that one-word “questions” to Siri can work. I’d never tried that before, and it worked brilliantly when I tried it. Effective.

  • Tallest_Skil

    sell a feature that rarely works in real life.

    What are you guys, idiots? Of course Siri works.

    I don’t necessarily think we need celebrities in these ads (I don’t ever want to see another celebrity in Apple’s ads unless it’s Jeff Goldblum), but Siri works.

  • pinthea

    Being an Apple fanboy, and an even bigger fan of John Malkovich, I cringe just a little every time his Siri commerical comes on…  It portrays a far too idylic setting and he’s just a little bit icky in love with Siri in it. 

  • Skywaytraffic

    I don’t understand this “Siri never works” crap that everyone is always crying about. I use Siri literally every single day and I rarely, if ever have ANY problems. Works like a charm for me, 99.9% of the time. Are you asking her to cook you dinner or something?

     

    OR maybe you’re on Sprint. Epic fail.

  • extra_medium

    i’ve found most of their ads to be overly cute and pretentious, even the ones most people ate up. Nothing made me want to buy a mac less than associating mac users with justin long. It made it even worse that the dude who sold me my mac looked exactly like him.

  • shannon_f

    Siri’s in beta, if people are gonna be stupid and complain about a feature still in testing, then…I don’t know? It’s apple’s job to figure that part out…

  • joewaylo

    They could have used a better script for John. Maybe using their own Apple designers as players in the iPhone 4S they’d have better points? I mean sure the TV ads are fine, but I think using keywords is where the ads plummeted. “Life” “Weather” “Stocks”. Many are probably thinking “Boy. John sounds as dull as a butter knife.” If he used “Will it rain in Stockholm this afternoon?” “What is the stock of the Boston Tea?” “What is the meaning of life?” they’d have much better rating points.

  • mr_bee

    Malkovich is an over-rated hack anyway.  He has no real acting talent and is only about half as smart and a third as “cool” as he pretends to be.  

    He’s been coasting on his “personality” for years and if it wasn’t for the fact that he is found to be sexually attractive by both men and women he’d only be half as famous as he is today.  
    I mean seriously, what has the man ever actually *done* besides “be John Malkovich”?  
  • winc06

    Ace Metrix must be a humorless place and about as imbecilic as stock advisors. John Malkovich’s tongue in cheek humor is hilarious in this ad. He is cool. The idea of an almost human Siri is hilarious and cool. I want a phone from a company cool enough to run that ad.

  • 1lasthope

    100% agree with the Malkovich ad.

    That laugh from outside the window is so bizarre, I expect John to open
    up a refrigerator full of severed-heads. What were they thinking?

    They should show me instead interacting with Siri hitched up via bluetooth
    to my Prius, texting my son I’ll be ten minutes late via voice control then giving
    verbal instruction to Siri to play an iTunes list over the cars sound system.

  • lowtolerance

    I don’t understand this “Siri never works” crap that everyone is always crying about. I use Siri literally every single day and I rarely, if ever have ANY problems. Works like a charm for me, 99.9% of the time. Are you asking her to cook you dinner or something?

     

    OR maybe you’re on Sprint. Epic fail.

    I’m on Sprint and Siri works fine for me as well.

  • SupaMac

    Agreed, I use Siri multiple times a day and it’s pretty much flawless.

    Also use it every single night to set my alarm for the morning too. Super convenient when sleepy and only have to hold down a button and tell the phone when to wake me up instead of navigating through menus.

    I don’t understand this “Siri never works” crap that everyone is always crying about. I use Siri literally every single day and I rarely, if ever have ANY problems. Works like a charm for me, 99.9% of the time. Are you asking her to cook you dinner or something?

     

    OR maybe you’re on Sprint. Epic fail.

  • IWontRememberThis

    I love this quote:

    “…the biggest problem with Apple’s most recent ads is that they’re glorified to make certain products appear more spectacular than they actually are.”
    No shit. Isn’t that the entire concept behind ads? Besides the only thing that made the Retina display debut on the iPad less then incredible was that it showed up on the iPhone first.
  • IWontRememberThis

    I love this quote:

    “…the biggest problem with Apple’s most recent ads is that they’re glorified to make certain products appear more spectacular than they actually are.”
    No shit. Isn’t that the entire concept behind ads? Besides the only thing that made the Retina display debut on the iPad less then incredible was that it showed up on the iPhone first.
  • chuckaluckaduckala

    Hey Brian, I’ve got news for you.  You’re not the person these ads are trying to reach.  You are already drinking the kool-aid.  I find it completely implausible that this creepy, cringe inducing ad campaign is doing anything to persuade android users to convert to the iPhone.  In fact, I think their pretentiousness completely overwhelms any message regarding the phone’s capabilities and may even make a fair amount of iPhone users want to disassociate from the product and image being sold.  Moreover, I’ll bet these ads are even negatively impacting the John Malkovich and Samuel L.Jackson “brands.”   (I haven’t seen the ads with Zooey Deschanel). 

  • Coffee T. House

    The ads are awful.  And it’s not about Siri.  Is about how pathetic it makes these actors look.

    Here’s a video that shows what Siri should be saying to the seeming suicidal John Malcovich:  http://youtu.be/vR9Ui8SINmE.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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