A little yellow ball with eyes and a mouth is crushed in a machine

Congrats to Apple for Making the Most Hated Ad of the Year so Far

Are you ready to feel depressed about the current state of the arts? Then why not treat yourself to a viewing of Apple’s new iPad Pro ad, titled “Crush!”?

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This isn’t just a bad ad; it’s outright difficult to watch. Who wants to see a trumpet, an arcade machine, a piano, and multiple other outlets of human expression get squished into nothingness and replaced with an iPad? Why is there a cute little cartoon critter in there getting squashed with everything else?! And above all, why did Apple think this was a good idea when people are worried enough already about human endeavors slowly being replaced with technology—namely sinister generative AI tools?

The reaction to the ad has been overwhelmingly negative, with people coming out to express the horror they felt while watching the ad. Actor Hugh Grant, just one of many people to speak out about the ad’s unpleasantness, called it, “The destruction of the human experience.”

Other creatives were equally outraged. Artist James Kochalka said, “I’m definitely the target audience for the new iPad Pro but this ad is tone-deaf and insulting to artists of every kind. We think of our tools with reverence and respect, and enjoy a healthy dialogue with them. Our tools are like trusted companions on the journey of art.”

An iPad, even a shiny new 13-inch one, simply cannot replace human tools and people are not impressed by the implication that they can. As good as an iPad made be at helping a person make music, it’s not a replacement for a real trumpet or piano. And users of X, formerly known as Twitter, have made that very clear in their posts.

It’s also fair to say that the iPad ad isn’t the worst thing going on in the world right now, and it’s arguably not the worst ad in even recent history. (For my money, that award goes to Kendall Jenner’s unbelievably tone-deaf “protest” Pepsi ad.) But “Crush!” features as its “main character” a little yellow emoji ball with googly eyes being crushed under the weight of technology, and too many people right now feel just like that poor yellow ball.

(featured image: Apple)


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Author
Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.