STRATEGIC NARRATIVE INSIGHTS
Be Free: Apple’s "Underdogs" Will Show You How
After surviving a rough pitch and the chaos of work from home, the four scrappy and relatable workers of the Apple ad series "The Underdogs" are back to leave their job and join the great resignation movement. The new episode released a few days ago is called "Escape from the Office".
Click on the image below to watch it. It's fun, and it teaches us how Apple wants to turn us into participants of a deeper and older narrative; thanks to their new products.
As you probably know by now, I differentiate between story and narrative. So let's decode this ad using those two layers.
The story? In this episode, the team escapes from their evil boss's clutches, finds out how to spin an idea into a product, and turns a product into a successful company.
The narrative? You can be free to create something of your own. Will you dare to be free?
The story is not about you; it's about that team of four, "The Underdogs". The beginning is about frustration. The middle is about a struggle. The end is about success. We've heard that story a million times, it has happened already. But it's once again beautifully told for our enjoyment.
The narrative, however, is about you. It is a call for you to become someone else. It takes you to a path that you don't know yet. It leaves you with the thrill and the fear of filling a blank canvas with your crazy business idea. Will you be like "The Underdogs"? A narrative is about your future, because you get to make it happen.
The story is light and fun to watch. You will gladly give up a few minutes of your attention to consume it.
The narrative seeks to shift the way you deeply think about your existence, and may lead you to take crazy measures, like starting your own business, if you haven't done so already—the narrative touches on your core beliefs.
The "Underdogs" story supports an old narrative that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak ran with even before releasing their first product, the Apple I. Their strategic narrative existed before their product. When you watch the video, notice how the "Underdogs" decide on a new strategy before having a product.
Finally, notice how this ad campaign positions Apple's product as the natural extension of a system of beliefs that Apple started building decades ago. When the company launched the Think Different campaign, one of the greatest business manifesto ever, it sealed its strategic narrative for many decades to come:
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.