The latest Apple Homepod spot, Welcome Home, is another spectacular piece of creativity and original direction by Spike Jonze.
The 4-minute film is made, ostensibly, to convince you that your home life can be improved with the all-knowing powers of Siri. But it conveys Siri’s AI usefulness in a beautifully human way, and without resorting to stereotypical tropes to tell their story:
Aw, Siri knows *just* the right song to play you when you’re down in the dumps! The premise could have ended up quite corny and inauthentic in a lesser directors hands. However, the visual treatment transforms this idea from banal to brilliant.
As our heroine listens to Siri’s choice of song (something “she likes”), her mood and her mind are transformed. We see a literal expansion of her home to convey a figurative opening of her mind, thanks to the song. She dances, not as a sex object, not as an object for consumption or voyeuristic desire, but as a way of transforming and expressing her interior world. Our heroine even dances with her mirror image, not falling back on the trope of a male saviour to make her feel good again, but rather being a sister who is doing it for herself.
With the complete absence of male talent, this spot isn’t an obvious candidate for Bechdel testing. (Though Siri and our heroine do speak to each other, and not about a man, so that’s a tick! on its own.) The reason why this spot has been critiqued as a Bechdel-approved narrative, is for its very singular and unabashed focus on a fully-realised young woman to sell a multi-billion dollar company’s talking computer.
That’s a feminist ad premise, if ever I saw one.