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Powerful story telling, or cynical marketing?

Take a few minutes to watch this video (7:18) shown at Apple’s recent World Wide Developer Conference.

Though it may cause the more cynical amongst us to wince, it can’t be denied that this video demonstrates some pretty powerful story telling. Here are some questions to ponder; I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections.

  1. How well do you think this video is pitched at the primary audience, and also to any secondary audiences?
  2. What creative devices are used to take the viewer on a journey?
  3. Is there one individual story you connect most with? Why?
  4. Overall how effective would you say this video is?

Andy Moore

I work as Head of Global Communications for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), having previously worked with Compudava (now Endava) in Moldova, building web applications, and for Wesley Management, working with small businesses and charities. I have a passion to see intelligent application of digital technology to serve the Church and mission. Married to the lovely Ruth.



Well, no surprise that I loved that, right? It’s business, it’s money-making, it’s trying to show that apple has a heart – there is lots to be cynical about.

And yet… Because of the iPad I saw Mikey draw for the first time when he was nearly five. Last week I saw him write a letter using the iPad. The iPod touch gives him ways of coping when the outside world is too much and he can make choices, show preferences and have fun.

I guess I relate most to the guy at the start and the end – its the stuff we wouldn’t have known was possible for Mikey if he hadn’t have tried the iPad and it’s the freedom that goes with it. It’s blown my mind and brought tears to my eyes many times.

Although its blatant advertising, I’m glad apple are tipping their hats to the app creators. It was them and hoards of therapists and parents who realised that the iPad etc could be so incredible for those with disabilities – apple have taken a while to catch up and harness the opportunity!

Excellent video (in spite of the slightly seedy self-congratulatory tone!). The key seems to be seeing real people who have had their lives changed.

Now, if it could all just be a bit cheaper???!

Penny Vinden

Powerfully story-telling IS good marketing! Selling something is always easier too when you have the emotional pull (hence it is easier to raise funds for starving children than privileged university students!), and Apple has done well to find ‘heart-wrenching stories’ – someone who is blind who helps others, big-eyed poor children in South Asia, a developmentally-challenged little girl. Selling to our sympathy helps overcome the cynicism. So the story of the beds/B&B (which was it? perhaps not the best crafted story either) was less appealing emotionally and therefore I connected less with it.

I really like the way they are selling something to us yet ‘we’ are thanking them for it! There is something to learn here I think – our stories should be so engaging (whether that means challenging or interesting or heart-warming or…) that people are glad we have written them!

I’m wondering what you mean by secondary audiences – can you say who you think is primary and secondary? Buyers of product and users of product (who may be the same but in the case of children are not)?


I’m an Apple fanboy, but I think this is good storytelling regardless.

I’m guessing that since it was shown at the WWDC the primary audience is for app developers. I think it’s inspiring for them to see that they can make a difference in the lives of people. The BNB story didn’t really seem to fit as something that is life-changing, but it made me want to check it out.

The overall video makes me want to create an app that will change people’s lives, and it makes me think that iOS is the way to do it.

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