Apple mocked for ‘cringey’ sketch with actress as ‘Mother Nature’ touting company’s climate change efforts
Apple was mocked on Tuesday when CEO Tim Cook shared a “cringey” sketch touting the company’s climate change efforts with Hollywood actress Octavia Spencer playing “Mother Nature.”
The video begins with Apple employees, including Cook, appearing nervous for an important meeting at the company’s headquarters. Suddenly as birds flock outside the window and glasses of water on the conference room table are shaking, “Mother Nature” appears.
“At Apple, we believe that climate change is one of the world’s most urgent priorities and we are deeply committed to doing our part. Today we had a special guest—a real force of nature—stop by to check on our progress,” Cook wrote to caption the video.
“I hope we didn’t keep you waiting,” Spencer says.
“Mother Nature, welcome to Apple,” Cook responds. “How was the weather getting in?”
Spencer’s character then informed the tech CEO that she controls the weather before cutting to the chase.
“In 2020, you promised to bring Apple’s entire carbon footprint to zero by 2030. Henry David Thoreau over here said we have a profound opportunity to build a more sustainable future for the planet we share,” Spencer’s “Mother Nature” said. “This is my third corporate responsibility gig today so who wants to disappoint me first?”
Apple employees then ran through a series of the company’s climate initiatives, such as eliminating plastic from packaging by the end of next year, the use of recycled aluminum in many products, using “clean electricity,” and carbon-neutral offices. The staffers inform Spencer that they aim to “permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere” and reduce water usage, all of which seem to impress “Mother Nature.”
“As you can see, we’ve innovated and retooled almost every part of our process to reduce our impact on the planet. But there is still a lot more work to do,” Cook said before a “carbon-neutral” watch is introduced.
“By 2030 all Apple devices will have a net-zero climate impact,” Cook said.
“OK, good, see you next year,” “Mother Nature said after a staredown with Cook. “Don’t disappoint your mother.”
The viral video was quickly lampooned on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
“If only you believed in innovation as much as you do left-wing tropes,” Grabien Media founder Tom Elliott wrote. “This video is the most embarrassing moment in Apple’s history as a company.”
Popular social media influencer Ian Miles Cheong called it “cringey,” while others noted all lifeforms would die without carbon.
“Apple says in this video ‘our aim is to permanently remove all carbon from the atmosphere’ That would quite literally destroy the planet,” conservative strategist Greg Price wrote.
“This is cringe, not bc of the content. Sustainability is great. You love to see it. But Apple, you are ambitious, engineering-led, #1 company on Earth. Signal optimism and harmony w/nature, not subservience through theater-kid style creative. Steve would never have green lit this,” marketing executive Adam Singer wrote.
Citizen Free Press added, “New Apple ad about climate change is beyond parody.”
A writer for AppleInsider, which covers news, prices and other topics for company enthusiasts, said the sketch was a “dud” and “single gag stretched out too far.”
“In theory, it sounds fine. Instead, it was a bomb,” William Gallagher wrote.
Not everyone disliked the ad, as marketing writer Michelle Wiles wrote, “I would think such a simple ad – Apple detailing their climate progress – would feel boring and brag-y. But the human elements: making Tim Cook super nervous, Octavia Spencer’s dry humor, and the buildup of tension in the room make it entertaining and increase trust in Apple.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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