Apple teams with Ghostbusters directors to push iPhone Christmas sales

When it comes to brand loyalty, Apple’s iPhone has been quite strong for years. Part of that is driven by Apple’s refined and easy-to-use OS and ecosystem, and another critical aspect has been iPhone’s photo/video taking capabilities, which become stronger with each iteration of the device. The marketing team has wisely leaned into consumer behavior and emphasized the iPhone’s photographic prowess with its “Shot on iPhone” campaign, which was first kicked off in 2014.

For the newest spot in the campaign, Apple partnered with Hollywood father-and-son team Ivan and Jason Reitman – Ivan is known for Ghostbusters (1984) while Jason led the reboot of the film franchise this year. The new ad doesn’t feature any ghosts, but it does seek to showcase advanced iPhone 13 Pro features, such as the Macro and Cinematic modes, while telling a story about a young girl attempting to prevent her beloved snowman from melting. In the end, the girl’s family is able to help her rebuild the snowman, delivering a warm-hearted holiday message on the importance of family.

By tapping into feelings of love and togetherness, Apple is leveraging emotional marketing that often resonates, as emotional campaigns have a track record of leading to stronger connections between brands and customers. At the same time, it’s clear that Apple wants to appeal to serious photographers and filmmakers with its Pro edition of the iPhone, positioning the latest model as a professional-grade filmmaking device. “The idea that you can just pick up your phone and start filmmaking is one that thrills me,” Jason Reitman commented in the ad’s behind-the-scenes video.

Nonetheless, whether this professional angle will be enough to move the needle on holiday sales for Apple is unclear, as the majority of consumers nowadays are happy to hold on to their current phones for several years. The old pattern of annual smartphone upgrades is far less popular now than it was five years ago. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, just 13% of current iPhone owners intend to replace their phones with new iPhones in the next three months, which is on par with Samsung and Google smartphone owners.