False Alarm: Same Directors Behind Apple Intel Ad/Music Video



There’s a simple explantion why Apple’s new cleanroom ad looks just like a music video for The Postal Service: they were both made by the same people.

Sarah Moody of Sub Pop Records, The Postal Service’s Seattle record company, writes:

“… the Apple commercial is indeed very similar, it wasn’t licensed in any form, and was made by the same directors as the Postal Service video. We weren’t alerted to the fact that it existed until the day it came out.”

Moody didn’t say, but The PS’s Such Great Heights video was made by directing duo Josh Melnick and Xander Charity, whose working name is Josh & Xander.

Apple’s ad agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, didn’t respond to a request for comment.


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34 responses to “False Alarm: Same Directors Behind Apple Intel Ad/Music Video”

  1. Trent Lapinski says:

    Nice work uncovering this.

    –Trent Lapinski

  2. Ken Leibman says:

    False alarm? Because they used the same directors to create a commercial that’s almost a carbon copy of the Post Office video? Still looks like a first-class alarm to me. First of all, creative people in the ad business are often “inspired” by videos and films. But they don’t just go out and copy them outright like this. The fact that they used the same directors is completely beside the point. It’s just not original, period — and that’s not up to the Apple standards of greatness. If this was an isolated case, it would be bad enough — but this comes right on the heels of the Eminem ad which has been widely criticized for being a copy of the Lugz ad. For Apple, the world’s most original company, to be putting out two commercials in a row that copy to this degree … it’s just disheartening. Looks like some very inexperienced people are making these decisions.

  3. doPi says:

    Laziness indeed !!!!

    Lets not rush to close the patent office of TV guys. If you have truly ran out of ideas Stevo, drop me a line. I’m oozing with fresh never seen before ads and concepts.

    Come on Apple, fess up, the Lugz ad should have told you what to do with Chiat et al. Oh the horror, the horror.

  4. Berkana says:

    I think they should get the guy who made his own groovy iPod mini ad to make a groovy Macintel ad. (http://www.gomotron.com/) My two cents. It would probably have been cooler and less condescending than the current ad.

  5. max says:

    I somehow doubt that the ad agency showed SJ their portfolio of work and he sai – ‘make me one like that’
    If the Ad agency retained the copyright for what was sold to PS, I guess it’s not a legal issue – PS have probably had more free advertising out of the story than they could have hoped for in a year of MTV plays. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Apple I suppose could sue for being sold a 2nd hand idea.

  6. Charlie says:

    Yeah – like all of you make “ads”. We call them commercials. Whan a “client” has an idea and they want to run with it you have 2 choices – try to talk them out of it stopping just before you piss them off or refuse to do it and watch your customer walk away. Have you ever heard “the customer is always right” in your line of work? You are going to argue with Apple? I doubt it.

    Now the set was a rental set. Someone pushed using it to recoup some of the cost of building it for the first use. Do you think music videos are cash cows? I admit using the set again in such a short period of time may be in poor taste but I think all ads are in bad taste and I make a living doing them.

    Directors are to a point idiots – they like working with the same crews. They fall in a rut. They get stuck in a groove. This director had a woody for this set. It’s not his fault – it’s a great set. The ad agency would carry most of the blame for not protecting the client but really – are you going to argue with Apple? I don’t think so.

  7. Steve C says:

    You are Chiat Day and Apple… and you want to do a commercial about INtel on the mac… about the new chip…

    You are a hip creative director… you hire the directors of the video because it looks perfect for the campaign….

    Done deal.

    Music,art and movies inspire and are ripped off by advertising ALL THE TIME.

    It’s just not a big deal.

  8. Steve C says:

    The Agency and Apple saw the reel of the directors.

    There were no mistakes. It was intended to look exactly as it does.

    The directors even use almost exact shots to put their signature on it.

    They wanted people to say THAT LOOKS LIKE THE Postal Service video!

  9. André says:

    Charlie: “Now the set was a rental set.”

    Actually no set was used, both were filmed on location. The Postal Service video was filmed in the Skyworks Fab. Intel allowed Apple to use one of their Fabs for filming of the ad.

  10. Jack Cheng says:

    If you go into the iTunes store now, one of the banners at the top says “The Postal Service Video Just Added”

  11. Stuart says:

    If you subscribe (from iTunes) to the MacTV video podcast you can see a comparison of both side by side

    macTV Show #100 – Intel Ad Comparison

  12. g says:

    Well, there is a change of philosophy at Apple but some people still fail to see that. Apple used to be about research, innovation, originality and excellence. They ‘ve joined the dark side now. “Think different” no more. “Think same” is more appropriate. Let’s just hope the easy money would not spoil them so much that they would turn out to be the next Dull (right now it looks like that is their purpose).

  13. Stuart says:

    The Postal Service aren’t happy

    “A Note from Ben

    It has recently come to our attention that Apple Computers’ new television commercial for the Intel chip features a shot-for-shot recreation of our video for ‘Such Great Heights’ made by the same filmmakers responsible for the original. We did not approve this commercialization and are extremely disappointed with both parties that this was executed without our consultation or consent. -Ben Gibbard, The Postal Service “


    It’s a double edged sword, it’s sad that they rehashed the video, but, it’s great exposure for the band (perhaps)

  14. Andrew says:

    Sounds like Ben is upset they weren’t asked to do an iPod commercial.

  15. presseditor says:

    I’ll believe that the band is really upset when they pull their songs from iTunes. Until then, they are just whining for attention.

  16. Graham says:

    Does anyone know what the song is that is being played behind the intel commercial? I remember that music from an early trailer for Syriana months ago, but didn’t hear it during the film.

  17. Ryan says:

    The song is Moby’s “God Moving Over the Face of the Water” — if it souds familiar it was featured prominently in the Michael Mann / DeNiro Pacino film “Heat” in the mid 1990s