Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Siri takes a star turn

April 17, 2012: 7:01 AM ET

Samuel L. Jackson and Zooey Deschanel signal a shift in Apple's marketing strategy

Deschanel with iPhone

As anyone who has lived with an iPhone 4S for more than a few weeks can tell you, its voice-activated personal assistant can be -- to put it kindly -- a little flaky. But Siri is still one of the device's marquis features -- something the iPhone can do that none of its rival smartphones can match.

So Apple (AAPL) in its latest TV ads has pivoted its marketing strategy, and rather than using ordinary people (who happen to be unusually good looking) to drive home the new message, it's burnished it with some high-wattage star power.

Siri is no longer being pitched a business tool, scheduling appointments on the run and avoiding commuter traffic. Now she's a quirky pal you can banter and have fun with -- and maybe show off to your friends.

Enter Zooey Deschanel, the embodiment of quirky, and Samuel L. Jackson, the master of bebop cool (and, according to Guinness, the highest-grossing film actor of all time).

For a very different approach to smartphone marketing, see the elevator hotties Nokia (NOK) is using to sell the Lumia 900 in Russia.

Apple's new videos below:

Thanks for MacStories for spotting them.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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