Apple Captures a Picture of Beauty Inside ‘The Bucket’

Home is where the heart is. That’s how the saying goes. Or, if you’re Apple, the taste of home will always bring us back. In any case, Apple’s new ad captured our hearts in time for the Chinese New Year.

Continuing its Chinese New Year tradition of shooting ads using its own phones, Apple brought us a new story for 2019. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Jia Zhahngke, The Bucket’s focal point was “homemade” food and taking a “taste of home” back with you after the holidays. It’s an ad with a darn good recipe, making for satisfying comfort food.

Apple XS Camera Showcase Video

Some Good

Here’s where the ad’s flavors exploded…

1. Story – Simple, but effective. After a holiday, a man leaves his hometown to return to the city and the taste of home comes with him. It’s an old formula, but it worked. Furthermore, the delivery was clever. While the message was right in front of me, I was preoccupied with what was in that darn bucket! Once the reveal happened, I was flooded with images from the previous five minutes. Well done.

2. Cinematography – Wow. We no longer need film or digital cameras such as the RED or Arri Alexa. This was beautifully photographed on the iPhone XS by Lik Wai Yu. From close-ups of eggs to wide shots of the landscape, The Bucket showcased the iPhone’s new features such as depth control and slow mo. It was also great marketing. Instead of an ad about the phone and its new camera features, what a great move to use the iPhone to make the ad. Brilliant imagery. Brilliant marketing.

3. Bridge Sequence – Bouncing off the previous topic, the cinematography capabilities of the iPhone XS were on full display during this sequence. It wasn’t flashy. It wasn’t mind-blowing. It was 15 seconds and three shots—three superbly staged shots that faultlessly framed the action. At the two-minute mark (the sequence’s beginning), I knew I was in for a visual treat.

4. Score – Minimal, but emotive, Varqa Buehrer’s composition accompanied the ad seamlessly. It was a perfect example of the power of writing music to images. Have the images inspire the music to accompany it, not overpower it.

Apple The Bucket Ad

Some Bad

Here’s where the ad’s recipe got confusing…

1. Markings on the Eggs – I’m nitpicking here, but what was the deal with the numbers on the eggs? I watched this several times and could not pick up on it. Did it have something to do with the Chinese New Year? If you can subtitle dialogue, couldn’t you subtitle the script on the eggs?*

The Takeaway

Gorgeously photographed with the iPhone XS, Apple and director Jia Zhahngke can say they made a wonderful short film in The Bucket. They also made a smart ad—skillfully marketing the iPhone XS by showing what it can do.

*Apple said the eggs were used to symbolize “the fragile yet unbreakable love of his mother.” Could’ve been a little more open with that…

AUTHOR: Dan Nelsen
ORIGIN: Speaking Human Contributor

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