Comedian and daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres was forced to apologize after poking fun at Apple’s iPhone in a parody advertisement.
The mock ad, which you can watch on YouTube, mimics the simple style of Apple’s iPhone ads, with the phone held up against a white screen as happy music plays in the background. But instead of demonstrating new features or cool apps, DeGeneres fumbles through the basic task of sending a text message. First she accidentally clicks on Google Maps, then she sends a message in error as she tries dealing with the phone’s virtual keypad.
“Can you help me with this?” she asks at the commercial’s conclusion.
Apple didn’t take too kindly to the parody. On the next day’s show, DeGeneres said Apple complained, and she got in trouble. She apologized for portraying the iPhone as difficult to use.
“It’s not hard to use,” she said. “I have an iPhone, [wife Portia de Rossi] has an iPhone, I just learned how to text on an iPhone, it’s the only phone that I can text on, and I love it. I love my iPad, I love my iPod. I love IHOP if you have anything to do with that. So, everybody at Apple — Steve Jobs, Mr. Macintosh — I apologize.”
The segment’s pretty hard to watch. I understand that usability is a key feature of the iPhone, but for Apple to cause a fuss over a joke is appalling, and there’s no reason DeGeneres should have to state her love for Apple products on national television as a result.
I’m not sure whether Apple is an advertiser for NBC, which airs The Ellen DeGeneres Show. If so, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple threatened to pull advertisements unless DeGeneres apologized. Either way, Apple’s inability to take a joke may backfire as more people learn of the whole ordeal.