Sunday, May 14, 2017

Apple's new commercial shows Asians in a different light

Apple's latest promo for its iPhone7 camera features means a lot more to Asian/Americans
and Pacific Islanders' visibility.

APPLE didn't pay me for this post.
I just have to bring your attention to the refreshing, new Apple 7 commercial featuring a young attractive, hip couple who happened to be Asian.
Dubbed "The City," which is part of Apple's "Practically Magic" campaign, the couple playfully romps through Shanghai, taking pictures, everybody else seems to disappear as they (subliminally, the camera) focuses on them alone. You can focus on who you love and leave everything else behind.
You can't hear them speak any language except for the language of love, which translates to all cultures. 
The song playing in the background is a simply beautiful love song, “Sing to Me” by Walter Martin (of the indie rock band The Walkmen) featuring Karen O. 
A lovely spot that made me smile.
The commercial is in stark contrast to Apple's commercials that have aired only in China, depicting the older China adapting to modern, high-tech culture.

As Quartz attempts to explain:
What explains the change in direction? It’s possible Apple found that its target Chinese customers relate more to the urban playground Shanghai of “The City” than the Shanghai depicted in “The Old Song.” While carrier subsidies help make the iPhone more affordable for the average Chinese person, the country’s smartphone market is largely dominated by low and mid-tier Android devices. Consumers that can comfortably afford an iPhone are likely just as steeped in international pop culture and indie US bands as they are in Chinese pop culture.
Overseas brands and production studios are also sensing that the Chinese feel pandered to when they see movies peppered with not-so-subtle nods to Chinese culture. 'The Great Wall,' for example, a Hollywood-China co-production that pits Matt Damon alongside a Chinese cast in an action film filled with historical references, got trashed by Chinese film critics. One common critique from reviewers was that references to Chinese culture felt forced and insincere.
On another level, the 60-second commercial shows an Asian man and an Asian woman blissfully in love with each other, an emotion that Hollywood and Madison Ave. don't often associate with Asians. 
Unfortunately, non-Asians have been brainwashed to see Asians as inscrutable and sexless nerds, martial artists or dragon ladies devoid of any emotion because western eyes can't read our emotions; or, we're lusting after a white partner because being white, even indirectly by association, is the universal standard of what they think everybody wants to be. Yeah, right.
As innocent as it seems, the commercial has attracted a bit of negative feedback because they don't like seeing Asians ...
  • On American TV
  • Outside their own narrow perceptions of what Asians should be
  • Sneaking into U.S. culture in preparation for world domination.
Com'n folks, really?!