By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
July 1, 2010

The spot Advertising Age calls “wordless and classy” is the week’s No. 2 viral video

Whatever Apple (AAPL) paid for the iPhone 4 advertisement that’s running on prime time TV this week, it was money well spent.

Not only is the piece getting warm reviews, but with 1.8 million hits it was No. 2 on
Advertising Age
‘s viral video chart, right behind “How do you like it shaved?,” a Gillette (PG) commercial thick with double entendres.

Here’s what AdAge‘s Edmund Lee had to say about the iPhone piece:

The Cupertino company’s clip is a smart spot that focuses entirely on the new phone’s Face Time app, which allows people to video chat over their respective iPhone 4s (yes, the future is now). Even better, the NA-produced ad is done without dialogue, only the nostalgia-steeped crackle of Louis Armstrong’s “When You Smiling” tracked over images of grandparents, parents and soon-to-be-dads chatting with distant loved ones. Yes, it comes on thick. But it works. It almost makes you forget Steve Jobs’ rant-prone presence on all things Apple and all things Apple doesn’t like. Almost.

[CORRECTION: Lee seems to have confused the poetic FaceTime ad with the more prosaic This Changes Everything video, a 6:14 minute promotional film featuring a series of talking heads from Apple’s executive staff. That’s the video that racked up 1.8 million hits. The 1:53 minute FaceTime spot is trailing with just under 400,000 views.]

The FaceTime video is the stronger piece. You can view it on YouTube here, or below:

Several commentators have pointed out that almost every actor in the ad is holding the phone the wrong way — covering the “death grip” spot that attenuates 3G reception. FaceTime, however, runs on Wi-Fi, not 3G, which might explain why the video calling feature seems to work just fine for showing babies to grandparents, sending sonograms to dads, flirting in sign language and the rest.

Making telephone calls on a naked iPhone 4, however, is another story.

[CORRECTION 2: An earlier version of this post attributed the FaceTime ad to director Sam (“American Beauty”) Mendes. I have been informed by people in a position to know that contrary to several reports posted in May (see, for example, here), Mr. Mendes had no hand in it.]

Whew. Two major corrections in one item. Not our best effort.

See also:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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