How to Hack an Apple Ad

For many of our interventions in Moscow, we often co-opt official language like city navigation, notices and warning signs in public spaces. The tactic is to tell the truth about the real condition of public spaces, plans of government etc. Traveling in the US, I realized that the dominant language there is corporate, and ad hacking uses the same tactic to fight different 'evil'.

I've been using Apple products since the mid 90's and consider myself a loyal customer. After my 30th birthday, I finally had the opportunity to travel to America, and like many other people took part in the ritual of obtaining my first iPad at the Apple store in San Francisco.

Buying an Apple product is considered part of one's introduction to American culture. This ritual was symbolic in the context of my trip, sponsored by the State department: spending American tax payer money, redistributed by the US government to go to one of the richest companies in the world.


The Crack

The happiness of the two first floors of the Apple store on Prince street in New York (which is the closest store to the Wall Street) is missing on the third one, which is filled with a stream of customers and the cracked screens of their iPods, iPhones and mostly new iPad minis. The company does not fix them for free, and requires you to pay 2/3 of the original price to replace them with a new product. The fact that it was in a special case made by Apple and it was broken inside my bag, 2 weeks after I purchased it didn't mean anything.

I had to pay $219 + taxes to 'fix' it. But I decided 'fine', I can spend the last of my money to make huge corporation even more powerful in order to make my son happy playing and learning using their device. I decided that my only weapon is art and I needed to 'fix' the Apple advertisement for the new iPad minis to make them more honest about how fragile the devices are.


The Hack

Here is my recipe of ad-hacking: 1) pick an ad in public space, measure its dimensions and take a photo of it next to an object you can measure at home (ex: your cellphone); 2) open the photo in Illustrator and recreate the actual size of the ad; 3) update it using Helvetica and print the text on any printer; 4) put the updated text, glue, marker and your iPad with a cracked screen (you can still use it to take photo of hacked ad) inside your bag; 5) go back to the ad in the city, hack it, draw cracks with a marker, take a photo, and post it on twitter with #partizaning.


Hacked Apple ad at the Cortlandt St. station in the NYC subway, under Zuccotti park.