A unique Apple marketing campaign for iPhone that you’ve probably never seen


As we await tomorrow’s iPad event, we’re looking back at a playful Apple marketing campaign that you’ve probably never seen. That’s because it ran in a single market at the time: Japan.

It turns out Apple relied on whimsical puppetry to convince Android users to switch to iPhone for a few years. If you haven’t experienced it, the ad campaign is unlike any other marketing campaign from Apple.

From Bunraku to Noh theater, puppetry has played an integral role with storytelling in Japanese culture.

Associating the iPhone with Japan’s appreciation for craftsmanship and artistry likely created positive sentiment for potential customers who experienced the ads.

The marketing campaign is different enough that it would be eye catching in any market. However, Apple likely wanted to bridge traditional cultural values with modern consumer culture as a way to reach new segments of the market.

Apple’s iPhone switchers campaign wasn’t just limited to its website in Japan. The company recruited the same puppets to convince Android users to try iPhone using billboards and video ads as well.

“It was absolutely wonderful working with the teams both here in the US and in Tokyo,” Furry Puppet Studio Creative Director Zack Buchman tells 9to5Mac.

“It was an overwhelmingly positive experience, partially because we had so much creative freedom—which I know you may find surprising. They just liked our style and trusted our creative process. By far it was one of the most fun campaigns I’ve worked on.”

What do you think? Is the use of puppetry uniquely appealing to Japanese markets, or could this playful ad campaign have universal appeal? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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