Pick of the Week: Apple Watch's chilling real-life rescues are a powerful hook

Apple taps into one of the most powerful and persuasive emotions to sell its latest smartwatch – fear.

A still from the ad featuring a sunset over farmland and the word 'hurting'.
Apple Watch uses fear to sell its latest line of smartwatches

Stuck in an emergency situation with no way out? Well if you have the latest Apple Series 7 Watch, help is literally at hand (or, technically, wrapped around it).

That is the premise of Apple’s latest ad, "911 Anthem", which uses the audio from real rescues that were enabled by an Apple Watch.

A woman frantically calls 911 (the US equivalent of 999) after her car flips, leaving her trapped as water enters her vehicle. 

There’s also an emergency call from a panicky paddleboarder, who has been pulled out to sea, and a farmworker, who has fallen off a ladder and broken his leg.

Amanda, Jason and Jim all use their Apple Watch to call 911, allowing them to be rescued in minutes. 

In case you weren’t aware, the Apple Watch has potentially life-saving features, such as a heart rate monitor, sensors that can detect when you fall and an automated emergency call function. This series of ads provides a compelling case study into how these features work.

The ad takes a very different approach from the upbeat "Hello Sunshine" spot used to sell Apple Watch Series 6, which featured a girl relaxing, running, swimming and doing a range of other activities.

Some have criticised the ads for using fear to sell watches, but ratcheting up anxiety levels through harrowing and authentic storytelling is what makes the creative so powerful. 

If you are not familiar with how an Apple Watch might one day save your life, these ads will nudge you to find out – and for Apple Watch’s marketing team, that is a job well done.

Brand Apple
Title 911 Anthem
Agency In-house


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