People Want New iPhone 11 Advert Banned Because It Affects Them So Much

by : Cameron Frew on : 18 Nov 2019 15:56
iPhone Alarm ThumbiPhone Alarm ThumbApple/YouTube

It’s 7.00am and you’re wrapped up like a toasty cinnamon bun. Then, from the darkness, buzzing tremors turn to vibrating thunder, while a gentle twinkling evolves into a piercing tidal wave of aural torture: that wretched iPhone alarm.


Even topping Lloyd Christmas’ most annoying sound in the world, Apple’s recurring wake-up jingle the most torturous component of many’s daily routine – and its presence in the tech giant’s new iPhone 11 advert is inducing shudders around the world.

Jason O’Callaghan MSc BA HDIP, a psychologist specialising in the unconscious from The D4 Clinic, tells UNILAD it’s because we’ve been conditioned by Apple.

Check out the advert below (I’m sorry): 


People have been lambasting the ad online, with one Twitter user writing: ‘See that fucking iPhone 11 advert with the iPhone alarm noise at the start it can fuck off gives me heart palpitations every time it comes on.’

Another wrote: ‘Wish that iPhone 11 advert would fuck off, every time that alarm goes off it gives me Vietnam-esque PTSD.’

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. It’s usually a condition associated with war veterans, struggling to mentally come home after the unimaginable chaos of battle. Can an iPhone alarm really trigger the same condition?

It can certainly cause anxiety – another user wrote: ‘That iPhone 11 advert is pure anxiety with that alarm man. Hate that noise more than anything.’

Jason O’Callaghan explained to UNILAD that iPhone owners have conditioned themselves with the alarm noise – and now that it’s entering our ‘relaxation time’, outwith the morning routine, it’s causing a negative reaction.

O’Callaghan added: 


These people have been conditioned that it’s time to get up in the morning and rush to work with this sound. But now, they’re getting it in their relaxation time because they’re hearing it in an advert.

It’s all about positive or negative reinforcement. If you get lots of likes on Facebook, that’s positive, if you speed down the road and get penalty points, that route will have negative reinforcement.

People are being conditioned to that sound by Apple, and for a lot of people, obviously, they’re being woken out of sleep and being forced to rush out to work by that sound. Naturally, that’s an anxious time, and now that sound is entering their private, relaxation time.

In an article for Psychology Today, Dr Nando Pelusi describes noise as a ‘stimulus… and when we have little control over the source, we often experience more stress and anxiety’.

It’s all about conditioning – more specifically stimulus-theory. ‘Conditioning is a form of learning in which either (1) a given stimulus (or signal) becomes increasingly effective in evoking a response (2) a response occurs with increasing regularity in a well-specified and stable environment’, as Britannica states.

Stimulus-response theory is ‘based on the assumption that human behaviour is learned’. In layman’s terms, the actual iPhone alarm, completely free from any sort of context, isn’t distressing at all – it’s reliant on our retention of a specific scenario, such as dreading getting out of bed in the morning.

Here’s an example: remember in The Office (US) when Jim uses a specific noise on his computer to train Dwight to want a treat. At first, Jim asks his colleague if he’d like a sweet after playing the sound, but inevitably, Dwight’s body is conditioned to crave a treat any time he hears it.

In A Clockwork Orange, through Ludovico conditioning, Alex is driven away from his lust for violence – as well as finding Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony absolutely repulsive, to the point he throws himself out a window upon hearing it due to the mental strain.

When we hear the alarm, unlike Dwight and his treats, we associate the sound with negative emotions: it’s an instant reminder of being woken up from peaceful slumber, and as such, it’s common for people to resent, if not detest, the noise.

That’s the price we pay for being slaves to the capitalist machine, I suppose.


If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Health, Anxiety, Apple, iPhone, Psychology


Psychology Today
  1. Psychology Today

    I Can't Stand That Noise