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The Apple ad, and four reasons we’re on the positive side of the pro/con split.

We had another big internet crowd splitter this week. The Apple - Mother Nature sustainability ad.As is traditional when anyone tries to do anything - the social media webs descended into their outpouring of opinion, congratulation, criticism, and some vitriol. This latest offering from Apple really split the crowd though. Brand people came out saying they loved it, sustainability people came out and tore it apart, and according the System1 research, even the public was split. With 13% of Brits saying it actually made them angry.Over at The Brew, we found it fascinating - but as a sustainability consultancy and creative agency were surprised to all agree that we thought it was a step in the right direction. Why? Well. Here are four reasons we’re on board the Apple train on this one:

It’s not about whether you like it or not. It’s about whether it works.

Although people have strong opinions on the internet (no surprise there), you can’t judge whether an ad is good or bad unless you know what it was for. One of the cardinal sins of feeding back on creative work is that dangerous word ‘like’. “I like it,” or “I don’t like it” should be banned phrases in creative reviews, as the only words you should be using are “it works,” or “it doesn’t work”. That’s because we in the creative industries create things for our clients that serve a purpose or an objective (hopefully pointed out in the brief) - and that’s the measure of if the work, works.

Being a critic is easy (the world doesn’t need more critics).

The world, but more specifically the internet has a catastrophic oversupply of critics. That’s because being a critic is easier than being creative, and it’s one of the nasty shortcuts to gaining power. Constructive criticism is a force for good for sure, and makes the world better. But finding reasons things won’t work? Poking holes in the efforts of others? Too easy, not helpful. As the old adage goes; “Any idiot can kick down a barn, it takes a carpenter to build one.”

American execution grates with European audiences.

This is an interesting one, and highlights the mid-Atlantic creative split. When I watched the ad, I thought it was good but the execution was clumsy, slow, simplistic, and lacked subtlety. It’s highly likely, however, that the ad wasn’t meant for me. Very much related to this - the time of the year I get closest to packing up my creative job though shame and disillusionment is SuperBowl season. I’m neither here nor there about American Football, but the SuperBowl ads are often so crap they're downright embarrassing. Like many they usually fill me with an angry disappointment and desire to move to the woods. This is however, because they’re not directed at me. One of the other cardinal sins of judging creative work is thinking it’s about you. It usually isn’t.

Yep, Apple are still guilty. But there’s a bigger picture.

Finally the big one. Apple are (of course) still sinners for sure, but everyone deserves a shot at redemption. There wasn’t much mention of Congolese cobalt mines, the fact you can’t repair an iPhone, and the planned obsolesce of their products - but they did mention a few big chunks of progress. Anyone who’s worked at any large company (I’ve worked at Apple…) will understand that change is hard, it takes time, enormous effort, and is uncomfortable. What Apple have done actually shows pretty strong progress. The good news coming out of this? Apple are (and long have been) a leader in many things - and leaders get followed. Their work is likely to inspire, push, scare, encourage their peers into making their own sustainability progress. A rising tide lifts all boats.So there they are, four reasons we think Apple have moved things in a beneficial direction. If you’ve got any other critical points you’d like to share on the Apple work, or this article, we’d love to hear from you - drop us an email at you’d like to talk creative work, progress, and problem solving drop us an email at