When Apple launched its voice-activated HomePod assistant in 2018, the brand blew the world away with “Welcome Home,” an ad that aims to get the device going. The spot staged by Spike Jonze with FKA branches immediately became a classic and was named one of the best ads of the year by Adweek.
Now, with the debut of the more compact HomePod Mini, Apple and agency TBWA Media Arts Lab are back with an ad that continues the theme of the earlier ad, how music can improve your mood. This time around, we don’t get the level of dazzling visual effects seen in Welcome Home, but we do get an uplifting platform for another rising star: American rapper and songwriter Tierra Whack.
For a little over 2 minutes, “The Magic of Mini” shows Whack returning to her apartment in a desolate state and pulling her scarf over the cold gray sidewalk (a painful picture for any city dweller). But soon your HomePod Mini will add a colorful miniature version of itself to the equation, and your mood will quickly improve.
The spot serves as the brand’s 2020 vacation ad. The selection of Whack to star the ad is reminiscent of Apple’s prescient pick of Billie Eilish for the 2018 Holiday Track, just before Eilish became a household name worldwide.
While this Christmas ad for 2018 was a detailed, animated tale of the creative mind, last year’s Christmas spot took a more emotional and realistic turn by showing how an iPad can bring three generations of families together in unexpected ways.
This year’s ad lies somewhere between the two, combining an everyday scenario with magical surrealism. The director was Pretty Bird’s Calmatic, who also directed the Super Bowl commercial “All People Are Tax People” on TurboTax by Wieden + Kennedy Portland.
Apple is known as a brand with an eye for emerging musical talent, this time in the spotlight from Whack. Two of her songs – “Feel Good” and “Pepper and Onions” – are included in the ad.
The 25-year-old multi-talented musician has worked with some of the entertainment industry’s biggest names for the past two years, including on Beyoncé-curated 2019 soundtrack The Lion King: The Gift. She also appeared alongside ASAP Rocky and Tyler , creator of Lil Yachty’s song “TD” earlier this year.
To accompany her debut album Whack World from 2018, Whack also created a stylized, hypnotic 18-minute “visual and auditory project”:
Here’s a look back at some of Apple’s vacation ads from the past few years: