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08 August 2017

Apple’s Instagram account reeks of desperation

What upppppppppppp, my fellow coolz?
What upppppppppppp, my fellow coolz?

Image: Ambar Del Moral/mashable

Apple finally joined Instagram this week, and boy is it excited about the big news. So excited, in fact, that it just had to open up the revolutionary experience to its adoring fans.  

The company that forever redefined the cell phone really really really hopes you’ll be a part of the wonderful journey that began on August 7, 2017  — instructing followers to tag their Instagram pics with #ShotoniPhone for the chance to get re-grammed by the corporate behemoth into 512 x 512 glory. 

And while for some aspiring influencers this may be the biggest game-changer since drone selfies, for the rest of us it presents an uncomfortable truth: Apple is begging us to help make it cool again. 

Let’s take a step back. Apple has long been, and still is, a powerful cultural force. Above and beyond the numerous ways its products affect our daily lives, for many years the company was synonymous with “hip.” Remember those ads plastered everywhere showing silhouettes dancing in front of brightly colored backgrounds, iPods in hand? They’re impossible to forgot, and the campaign was practically seared into everyone’s brains. 

But that was 2003. Fast-forward a few years, and 2007 brought with it the first iPhone. It was a glorious moment, and for many years Apple products stood solidly atop the desirability throne. However, somewhere between the Apple Watch and the Apple Pencil case, things started to change. 

Please, please take part.

Please, please take part.

Sure, owning the latest and greatest Apple product was still a cultural signifier, however, what it signified was less cultural cache and more a proclivity toward conspicuous consumption. 

Its latest lifestyle ad campaign — which this new Instagram account is — is a further step in this direction. It serves not to leave an indelible Apple-shaped imprint on our imagination, but to draw us away from the specifics of what the company actually manufactures. 

Yeah, the generically inspiring photos featured on the Apple Instagram account were all shot on iPhones, but they basically could have been captured with any decent camera (or smartphone). They are certainly fun, and in some cases touching, but there is nothing particularly “Apple” about them.

But maybe completing the transformation away from tech company to lifestyle brand is what this is all about? Because this foray into #gramlife does succeed at one thing: distracting us from the fact that Apple isn’t really doing anything interesting these days (sorry HomePod). 

Instead, Apple is asking us “to take part” in and fuel its latest quest to regain some cool factor. Honestly, it’s a little sad (not even touching on the fact that the world’s most valuable brand with billions in cash reserves should be able to, you know, pay photographers in more than exposure).

Apple does have one thing going for its Instagram account, though. Unlike with its Twitter profile, the marketing team behind it hasn’t yet panicked and deleted all the posts

That fact alone, however, shouldn’t be enough to convince us to give in and put our creative energy toward pumping up one of the world’s largest brands — no matter how desperately it wants us to. 

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