apple the greatest

Creative Salon Loves


Celebrating Life: Apple's 'The Greatest' is Pretty Damn Great

When Jim Moffatt hired Alice Tonge, great work was sure to follow

By Creative Salon

When Alice Tonge left her role as head of 4Creative at Channel 4 in 2019 she was pretty much at the top of the wishlist of any agency looking for brilliant creative leadership. Then Apple called.

Jim Moffatt, the former CEO of Engine and now a senior director at Apple, has been building a world-class bench of talent for Apple in Europe, and by last autumn Tonge had signed on as group creative director. Then silence; Apple doesn’t do show and tells.

But last week their work spoke for itself…in fact, “The Greatest” roared.

The film, created by Tonge and her team and directed by Kim Gehrig through Somesuch, is one of the world’s best ads this year. Timed to mark the International Day of Persons With Disabilities, the ad showcases Apple’s new accessibility features. But this is not just a promotional film for Apple, it’s a celebration of life.

“The Greatest” shows people with disabilities using Apple features such as voice control and sound recognition to help them in their everyday tasks. There's such a light touch to the directing, the casting is spot on, the soundtrack (“I Am the Greatest”, by Spinifex Gum, with Cola Boyy and Matthew Whitaker, adapted from quotes by Muhammad Ali and featuring the female indigenous Australian singers of the Marliya Choir) is quite perfect.

But what’s so very special about this beautiful film is the joy and happiness it radiates. This is really not a film about triumphing spectacularly against the odds or championing great endeavours. It’s a film about ordinary people doing ordinary tasks in whatever way gets them through and loving life. Perhaps it’s the real person’s flip of Tonge’s outstanding work for the Paralympics when she was at Channel 4.

It could also be one answer to the question “why isn't there enough talent to go round in London agencies?”: Apple.

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