Apple’s Grammy Ads, ‘Alien’ and ‘Amigos,’ Put a Spotlight on Animoji

Childish Gambino and Migos Get the Animoji Treatment

Viewers of last night’s 60th Grammy Awards were treated to two unique and ridiculously smile-inducing ads that promoted the iPhone X and, more specifically, the Animoji feature that comes built in.

The first ad, ‘Alien,’ was a trippy take on Childish Gambino’s song ‘Redbone.’ It featured an animated alien and unicorn backup singers lip syncing to the song. The inventive ad quickly descended into a spiraling psychedelic explosion of color as other Animoji; a cat, robot, rabbit, panda, and pig, joined in on the fun. Groove to ‘Redbone,’ by watching ‘Alien’ below.

The second ad, dubbed ‘Amigos,’ featured a wide array of animoji characters including a dog, chicken, poop, and fox lip syncing to Migos’ song ‘Stir Fry,’ while carrot, cucumber, and broccoli emoji flew by. This ad premiered on Apple’s social media accounts last week but made its television debut last night along with ‘Alien.’ Jam to ‘Stir Fry’ below.

These inventive ads highlight the impressive capabilities of Animoji, a facial recognition feature exclusive to the iPhone X that utilizes the phone’s TrueDepth camera to create custom 3D animated characters that mirror a user’s facial expressions. Users can create 10 second long clips as their Animoji alter egos on the Messages app.


Video Marketing Elevated

Both ads are thematic, fun, and bold interpretations of the two artists’ songs and they went viral during the show. Apple’s decision to officially premiere ‘Alien,’ right after Childish Gambino’s Grammy performance and ‘Amigos,’ in the ad slot right after the Best Rap Album category, was a smart marketing play. By teaming up with the two Grammy nominated musicians, Apple was able to give them both some exposure and their die-hard fans a reason to get excited.

The two ads stem from the Animoji Karaoke trend, where users assume the guise of their emoji counterparts and record themselves lip syncing to songs. Apple took notice of the trend and hopped on board to create their own professionally animated Karaoke ads.

Apple is no stranger to creative ads and their knack for relevancy and charm have helped them evolve and become the tech giants they are today (think back to that iconic ipod nano ad several years ago and then shake your head in disbelief because oh my god that was TEN YEARS AGO?).

Even though art and marketing aren’t mutually exclusive, the enjoyable Animoji TV spots seamlessly blended the two together to create a memorable set of ads that felt right at home in the middle of the Grammy’s.

Animoji is a fantastic way for casual users to experiment with AR and share their own karaoke creations but brands don’t have to be excluded from the party. Using Animoji to create branded messages is a great way for companies to share content to text message opt-in lists.

The tech appeals to younger customers and it allows brands to dip their toes into the AR waters in an accessible way. There are only ten Animoji characters available to use right now so staying on brand may be difficult for some marketers. Nevertheless, it’s a possibility that’s well worth exploring.


iPhone X Struggles to Deliver

Even though Apple continues to churn out great ads, the iPhone X’s output has struggled. After disappointing holiday sales, Nikkei reported that Apple has cut the model’s January – March production in half. Specifically, the first quarter production target has been slashed from 40,000 units to 20,000 units.

Aside from Animoji, wireless charging, and some camera improvements, the phone’s tech features leave much to be desired, which is why many users are forgoing the $999 device in favor of the much cheaper iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

Apple has unleashed the full breadth of their marketing capabilities in an attempt to keep the iPhone X afloat, but they still have a long way to go before the iPhone X bug truly goes viral.