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Apple’s ‘shot on iPhone’ campaign has caught the advertising world by a bit of surprise. Not only has the entire campaign generated over 15 million combined views on YouTube alone, but it has kick started a new method of unique advertisements from user-created content.
What makes these short ads interesting, is Apple spent virtually nothing to produce them. Outside of a few minor colour edits, a quick crop, a text overlay and a music track, these spots were created by Apple’s very own army – iPhone users.
This very model of creating branded content is interesting to companies who are able to integrate their products into consumer experiences without focusing on specifications or technicalities.
Apple seems to be following in the footsteps of GoPro, who has used this form of advertising with its products for years.
The great thing about these videos is that they’re short and created almost entirely with social media in mind. While admittedly they are regularly used on TV and in theatre pre-rolls, they’re just long enough to catch a user’s attention. This attention-grabbing technique is designed to create a “wow” factor for a few reasons.
First off, it influences regular-Joe iPhone owners to experiment with their iPhone’s camera in ways they may have never considered.
Second, it gives the user a sense of ownership and competition, as these ads intelligently include a credit at the end, associating the clip with its rightful owner.
Third, it actually increases the amount of content Apple is able to create. When people see these shorts, they’re inspired to create their own, submit them to Apple, and hope and pray theirs is the next feature.
The best part? Apple doesn’t even make it about competition. They don’t offer a reward or any serious recognition for creating the best ‘shot on iPhone’ short. For a company of their magnitude, they don’t have to put money into these sorts of marketing tactics because they’re going to get submissions either way.

This model of generating low cost branded content is ingenious, but very limiting. Most brands will have a hard time implementing user-submitted content. This model is almost entirely restricted for brands who sell cameras/video devices because there are too many additional steps. It’s hard to believe that a company who sells jeans is going to ask consumers to film a video of ‘a day in their jeans’ because they just don’t know what they’re going to get. Apple’s model is headlined by beautiful pictures and amazing experiences, which some brands don’t have the ability to replicate.
While we love the idea behind Apple’s campaign, it certainly isn’t the only successful way of producing branded content. Check out our blog for tips on creating branded content to engage your audience:
Related: New ‘shot on iPhone’ videos for June
Related: Apple shares new ‘shot on iPhone’ ad for Mother’s Day
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Chris Stasiuk

Author Chris Stasiuk

Chris is commercial director and founder of SVG, a Toronto based video content agency.

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