Whatever has triggered Apple’s latest strategy for advertising the iPad, it’s the best choice the company’s made in years. The latest streak harkens back to the “Think Different” days by eliciting an emotional response for the idea, not the product. The “I’m a Mac” ads polarized their viewers, often leading people to sympathize with the bumbling but likable PC. Not the best outcome. The iPhone ads have always highlighted specific apps and functions that other phones can’t match. Good, but only until something new comes along. This latest ad and the already-classic “What we believe” spot take a completely different strategy. Instead of bragging about specs or capability, they pitch an idea – that technology is there to help us be better, more inspired, somehow more human. I think Apple’s always looked at their business this way, all the way back to Steve Jobs’ quote about the original Mac becoming the bicycle for the mind. They just haven’t always shown it. Too often they’ve fallen into the “make fun of the competition” rut (Droid and Xoom ads, anyone?) instead of pushing what makes Apple unique. To whoever instigated the newest iPad tactic – great job. The company can always use more of the right kind of marketing.