Apple vs. Postal Service: A Side-By-Side Comparison



I know I’m harping on about this, but there’s been a lot of debate about whether or not Apple remade — or was even infuenced by — The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” video for its new 30-second TV ad for Intel-based Macs.

In comments here and at my other blog, some people insist the two videos simply use the same setting, a cleanroom, and that’s where the similarities end.

But now ChrisJM at Elite Productions has taken the Apple ad and spliced it with corresponding shots from the Postal Service video to make a side-by-side comparison.

I say it nails it (not that there was any doubt in my mind). The Apple ad is more or less a shot-for-shot remake.

It’s not that Apple’s ad is not artful. I actually think the ad works better than the video, which I found over long and boring. I just find it mystifying there’s any doubt about the source material.

I’ve made enquiries with both Sub Pop Records and Apple’s ad agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, and will report any findings here next week.

22 responses to “Apple vs. Postal Service: A Side-By-Side Comparison”

  1. Chris McLay says:

    I think this is getting silly. There are only so many ways you can shoot footage inside a chip manufacturing plant.

    I’m sure you could find a corporate video for one of these plants and they would compare favourably as well.

    And as for “shot for shot remake” the Postal Service clip (the longer of the two) is missing shots in the Apple ad.

    You could take most “romantic comedies” or “action films” and produce a similar “shot for shot remake” proof.

  2. Berkana says:

    The link you gave forgot the opening scene, with the camera viewing through the stack of toasting wafers.

    It’s not just the shot by shot virtually identical shots, but that even the order in which those shots appear was identical. If it were just bunny suits, or just a chip plant, then claiming that they copied Postal Service would be a stretch, but all of the similarities together just makes it virtually undeniable.

    I can’t wait to see what comes of this. I hope Apple’s ad agency got permission; it would be a big shame if they didn’t.

  3. Tom Borgers says:

    Really I don’t see what the fuzz is all about.

    There are three scenes that have a same “feel” to it”. The zoom out from chip to iMac, the guy looking at the wafer and the people looking at each other. All three probably not comprising more then 4 seconds of a 30 second clip in a very constrained environment.

    It’s not like the Eminem / footwear commercial where the entire feel and design corresponded. Really I can see where Apple got it’s inspiration but no way they are infringing on any ones intellectual property.

    It’s not like Madonna’s “Frozen”.

  4. flynn says:

    Thanks for the laugh. I believe any footage shot in a clean room could be rearranged to have some similarities with TBWA/Chiat/Day’s spot.

    And Berkana, the sequence isn’t the same, the music video is cut and reordered to match the commercial…

  5. edge says:

    leander you need to spend more time with your kids. those shoddy looking ipod costumes were a joke. oh haircuts too…

  6. Jack Cheng says:

    They are stylistically similar, but the concept of the two videos are not the same. If you pay attention to the postal service video, it’s clearly about loneliness/longing in a THX1138-like world, whereas the TBWA/Chiat Apple spot is about what’s happening to the chip- the chip is the star… not the characters.

    Look at the scene in both videos where the wafer changes hands- in the Postal Service one, the focus is that brief moment of human contact, whereas in the Apple spot, the underlying thought in the characters’ minds is “wow… this is going to be big”.

  7. Jack Cheng says:

    Oh, and this kind of stuff happens ALL the time in advertising. Whether it’s plagarism or just brain-sync… it happens a lot. And most of the time it slips under the radar. If you want to see some mind-blowing examples, check out this site:

    It just goes to show how carefully we follow this company and how quick we are to scrutinize its every move.

  8. radeon says:

    I can’t believe you’re still talking about this. Maybe if you say it over and over enough someone will actually want to agree with you and care.

    Postal Service is great too, hardly boring. Why don’t you drop this whole 20/20, Dateline exposé thing you’re going for.

    Just say this, for an Apple ad it could have been better. Move on.

  9. Bravo says:

    You guys are SPOT ON!! There is absolutly NO WAY the Apple ad was not influented or more by the Postal Service video. It is too bad they didn’t use the music…

    Anyway, it fuels the hype and keeps us talking about it. I’m sure this is waht they were hoping for…

  10. Jobs says:

    A little research shows that “Such Great Heights” and the Apple spot were both directed by Josh and Xander. Can one borrow creatively from oneself? Or maybe Josh had the idea for the music video and Xander ripped off Josh.

  11. Mac Masters says:

    the Postal Service needs to shut up about being upset that they weren’t asked by apple before the add came out. The Postal Service didn’t direct their music video. Somebody else came up with those shots and edits. And even though they are pretty much the same video there is one difference. The music video sucks! It’s way to long. Some of the shots were cool, all the ones in the Apple add, but that was it. I’m a little sad because I kind of liked The Postal Service before this.