January 13, 2014
Vijaya Prasad

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Oh Captain, Our Captain

Here in Los Angeles, it’s Awards season. Which makes today’s post especially relevant, at least I think so. There are certain generation defining movies Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dazed and Confused– and there are those that transcend generations. The Breakfast Club makes more sense after high school, but spoke to 80’s teenagers, 90’s teenagers, and is still going strong. Mean Girls – could only be written and appreciated by those who have survived high school and can see through the experience, how it all seems to matter at the time, but in reality it doesn’t.

The best stories are the ones that are timeless – ones that become cultural references and speak to future generations without sounding jaded or antiquated. In the now defunct show Bunheads, (spoiler alert) – when the main character feels she has no choice but to leave, the students stand up, and say,

Oh Captain, my captain.

It’s Dead Poet’s Society, with its instructions to question authority, the status quo, and what it means to be an individual at a time when you’re desperately trying to find and perhaps define yourself.

“Medicine, law, business, engineering—these are noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life..But poetry, beauty, romance, love—these are what we stay alive for.”


This advertisement  is genius, and it represents the magic of Apple. It recognizes that Apple wouldn’t be where it is without engineers bringing ideas to life, but that it’s the artists who imagine those ideas. A

That ad and Apple captures that beauty – through face time and being able to see your 1-year-old niece have a pretend conversation on the phone.  Through inspiring you to travel and write and create music.

Adweek captured the sentiment perfectly when they wrote

That message is pure Apple, going back to the “Think different” days as well as Justin Long’s teasing of the spreadsheet-loving John Hodgman in the “Get a Mac” ads. Apple’s business is art (and the business of art), not commerce—though the visual storytelling here cleverly shows the product contributing to both.

Beauty, poetry, passion, curiosity—these are Apple’s core brand attributes, and they’re powerfully communicated here.

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