Apple launched a new advertising campaign on Wednesday to promote its key privacy features and eventually convince people to choose an iPhone over the competition. Themed “data auction,” in which an auctioneer sells a user’s data, the ad highlights the fact that people today lose their personal information at various stages and through various resources, including email, messages, and browsing history. It shows Apple’s App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection as some of the built-in data tracking protection features. However, the deals on offer are not that foolproof.
The one and a half minute spot begins with the introduction of the protagonist Ellie, whose data was auctioned off. The auctioneer offers various types of Ellie’s data for sale. It includes their email, purchase history, location data, contacts, browsing history, and text messages.
Advertisers and marketers collect data from various resources to understand user patterns. The Cupertino-based company claims that it designs its products and features to “minimize the amount of your data” that anyone can access.
The ad, which is second after the last privacy campaign released last year, shows that once Ellie enables app tracking transparency, she asks apps to “not track” activity in order to share it with advertisers or data brokers. The feature was made available to users in April last year – after some delay due to implementation issues.
Although Apple says the feature lets users choose whether an app can track their activity across other apps and websites to advertise and share patterns with data brokers, it was recently found not to be foolproof and developers claim it is could still allow users to be tracked.
The ad also demonstrates the email privacy feature, which claims to protect information like your IP address and other data when you send an email to a recipient. It works with the pre-installed Mail app available on iPhone, iPad and Mac devices.
Apple also has features like Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari and privacy controls for location services that were recently rolled out to improve iPhone users’ privacy. The purpose of the ad is to highlight these offers – to eventually convince people to buy an iPhone.
Recent privacy updates have already helped Apple not only expand its iPhone market, but also grow its advertising business as new customers turn to the company to serve their ads to iPhone users.
Still, Google has followed in Apple’s footsteps in recent months, making certain similar changes to Android to make it a strong competitor to iOS — from a privacy perspective. The Mountain View, California-based company just released a campaign titled “Protected by Android” earlier this week to highlight its native, privacy-focused changes to the world’s largest mobile operating system, which will rival Apple.
Privacy improvements, available for both iOS and Android, make it easier for users to limit tracking on their devices. However, advertisers, data brokers, and marketers are looking for new ways to break through the system-level limitations and find ways to track users to some extent — to preserve their ad business. However, the privacy barriers are creating cost burdens for companies like Meta and Snap, which previously used activity tracking to appeal to the masses, as it has become more difficult for them to do so today.
However, Apple’s new advertising campaign has started to run in a total of 24 countries and will be translated into languages other than English in select markets to reach a large number of audiences. The company will also deploy new billboards in each country where the ad runs to better reach its potential customers.