Teenage Boy Stuns Everyone—Loves His Family

Apple_featureimg Posted on December 18, 2013 by Susie Graham

Apple jumped into the holiday advertising fray on Monday with their 1:30-long spot “The Harris’ Holiday”. The ad features a typical, disinterested teenage boy arriving to celebrate Christmas with his large extended family. The boy seemingly trudges through the holiday traditions, with his face buried in his phone—presumably texting, crushing candy or Snapchatting. But, as many holiday spots do, this one ends with a sentimental holiday twist. Watch the ad (maybe with some tissues!) below:

Technology advertisers have to walk a fine line when showing their products integrating into things like family time. Too many times parents have had to tell their kids (or each other) to get off their phone, and addressing that side of technology can be difficult. Apple succeeds by showing how technology enhances the family dynamic, creating smiles and warm feelings.

“The Harris’ Holiday” had an above average Ace Score for Computer Hardware, but its 607 score doesn’t put it in the elite group of Holiday advertisers for 2013. What is impressive about the spot, however, is the extremely high Relevance score. With 350 Holiday ads and counting, “The Harris’ Holiday” falls squarely in the Top 10 for Relevance, which is an impressive feat. The focus on family certainly helped the ad resonate across demographics. We were also impressed with the ad’s ability to maintain Attention—1:30 is a stretch for consumers to stay engaged. The lack of focus on a particular product, or even a brand until the end, kept Information, Change and Desire scores down.

Much like some of the family members in the spot, respondents felt themselves tearing up at the boy’s thoughtfulness in making the holiday highlight reel. Apple is currently tops for Technology brand Holiday spots in terms of Emotional Sentiment with the score of 64.

Not surprisingly, older women were the top demographics for this family-focused holiday spot. Women overall scored the ad 19% higher than men, who found the lack of Information particularly frustrating. Women gave Attention, Likeability and Relevance scores that were an average of 16% higher than the male scores. Males 16-20 scored the ad by far the lowest—probably because they were too busy texting, crushing candy or Snapchatting. 

The word cloud shows that people were particularly touched by the heartwarming, family-oriented story. We were slightly surprised by the lack of mentions of Apple in the 360 verbatim responses—7% is lower than we typically see for such a beloved brand, however, the spot didn’t focus on the product at all, which is what tends to get people excited.


Women, in particular, liked the “twist” of the apathetic teenager giving his family a wonderful, surprise look at their holiday festivities. 

In order to make the risk of 1:30 really work, a spot needs to have a solid story, and Apple succeeded. Their spot reads as a Christmas card to the world and that warm feeling really resonated. There’s one group that might not be too happy with Apple though—teenage boys: the pressure’s on this holiday season!