Apple's Initial Watch Ad in Vogue is Nearly Perfect

With Apple Watch Keynote 2.0 scheduled for March 9th, the Apple Watch will once again become the talk of the town in tech, fashion, and design circles. In anticipation of an April launch, Apple officially kicked off its Apple Watch marketing campaign with a 12-page spread in the important March issue of Vogue, valued at $2.2 million. I thought the ad was effective in highlighting the Apple Watch as a fashion piece that values design and luxury.  

There are only so many brands that can get away with just simply having Watch on a blank page. That one page is estimated to have cost Apple close to $200,000.

Watch Sport

Interestingly, the green fluoroelastomer band made the cut. Apple included a screenshot of the Activity app.


The milanese loop provides great imagery (this same shot is on Apple's website), while the profile shot is able to show the band's clean and minimal nature. Notice the lack of technology in these shots. 

Watch Edition

The rose gray modern buckle could be mistaken as a band from any luxury watch. Meanwhile, a sophisticated and sleek black watch face is used to highlight the Edition collection.

I think this ad is nearly perfect because it effectively gets the message across that this luxury item is much more than just any old watch without actually showing much, if any, of the technology that makes Apple Watch revolutionary. Apple is delicately positioning design and fashion ahead of the device's primary selling point: bringing utility back to the wrist.  

Apple is walking a thin line when marketing Apple Watch as the device has to be positioned for everyone, from students to fashion-minded executives. The ad takes many cues from other fashion-oriented ads with minimal text and no prices as the brand is the primary product being sold. I would be very surprised if Jony Ive did not play a major role in creating every page of this ad.

This Apple Watch print ad reminded me of iMac ads from the early 2000s, in which the product also did the talking. In what may be a sign of Apple's increased brand power, and also the difference in target markets (Vogue versus tech publications), notice how much text is included in these iMac ads. 

While having a large ad within Vogue is important, in theory anyone with money (and a good ad agency) can get a 12-page spread. The goal is to be on the front cover, which can't be bought in reputable magazines. In one chapter of Adam Lashinsky's "Inside Apple", the story of Steve Jobs lecturing an ad buyer included Steve's often-repeated response: "You worry about the back covers. I'll take care of the front covers." The key test will be if Vogue puts Apple Watch on the front cover. Google Glass got a 12-page editorial spread in 2013 and Apple Watch was featured on the cover of Vogue China, so maybe there is a chance we see Apple Watch on the coveted September issue of Vogue. Regardless, Apple is off to a good start with its Apple Watch marketing campaign.