The Guardian featured an articled this week in which former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée said that the brand has lost its way, and cited their recent Siri commercials as the reason behind his claim. Gassée said that Apple’s use of celebrities in the ads distracts from the products, and goes against Apple’s reputation of focusing on the product.

Apple’s advertising and marketing approach has always been personal rather than technical. They don’t talk about the high tech capabilities of their devices – they instead choose to focus on the usefulness of the product, and how owning it will make the customers’ life easier and better.

However, the recent Siri commercials seem to attempt to do this – the celebrities used demonstrate how Siri works in the ads – but fall short, because the celebrities distract from the product. Apple was not previously in the habit of using celebrities to promote their devices, and Gassée says the company has lost their way in doing so with the Siri ads Martin Scorsese, Zooey Deschanel and Samuel L. Jackson are featured in.

The commercials have received mixed reviews – according to the social media monitoring site Alerti, online discussion over the Siri commercials has been equally positive and negative – 15.31 percent positive, and 15.31 percent negative.

Graph by Alerti

That may not seem like much of a problem, but, having 50/50 negative and positive discussion of your brand is a problem for a company that relies as heavily on buss marketing as Apple does. As evidenced by the graph below, the vast majority – an overwhelming 91.84 percent – of online discussion of the Siri commercials has been via twitter. What this indicates is that social media and customer/potential customer comments are driving the conversation about Apple. The brand’s image is at the mercy of the masses.

Graph by Alerti

There is much to be learned from Apple’s marketing successes, and, in this case, their failure. Don’t give potential customers celebrities to entertain them, or technical aspects that, for the most part, will bore them. Instead, tell them how your product is going to revolutionize their lives, and why they need it.

iPhone 4s Siri
Siri Commercial
Celebrities in Apple Commercials