Hello! iPhone Ad Debuts During Academy Awards

Apple Inc. aired its first TV spot for the iPhone during Sunday's telecast of the 79th annual Academy Awards, although the 30-second spot didn't identify the iPhone by name.

The teaser ad began with a black-and-white close-up of a rotary phone, followed by a montage of clips from 31 different films and TV shows with characters as diverse as Lucille Ball from "I Love Lucy" and Mr. Incredible from Pixar's "The Incredibles" answering ringing telephones with different iterations of "Hello," including Audrey Tatou from "Amelie" saying "Bonjour."

The spot finished with a shot of the iPhone featuring the username "John Appleseed," followed by two black screens with white lettering--the first saying "Hello," and the second saying "Coming in June." The ad ends with a shot of the white Apple logo against a black screen.

The ad aired during the Oscar ceremony's first commercial break, which followed the presentation of awards for art direction and scientific and technical achievements, and was repeated later in the telecast.



The ad is posted online.

Apple declined to comment on the ad, saying it does not comment on its marketing strategy. Apple tech watcher blogs had reported that the spot was created specifically for the Academy Awards.

Ads during the telecast had a $1.7-million per 30-seconds price tag. The 2006 awards show had a domestic audience of 40 million.

Apple's current computer ad campaign focuses on the differences between Macs and PCs, as personified by actors Justin Long (Mac) and John Hodgman (PC).

Current ads focus on the challenges they have had dialoguing since the launch of Windows Vista, implying that Windows' virus vulnerability has resulted in a cumbersome interface. The ads now include a third character, dressed like a G-man, who informs the PC of the Mac's attempts to communicate and asks for the PC's permission to respond, slowing down their conversation.

Apple last week resolved its legal dispute with Cisco over use of the iPhone name--Cisco dropped its lawsuit, and both companies are free to use the trademarked name globally.

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