You’ve likely seen the Emmy Award-winning “Misunderstood” holiday commercial from Apple. Now here’s the behind the scenes story of the Calgary based husband and wife team of Chris Ippolito and Karen MacKenzie, (and their 23 relatives), for whom the award-winning holiday turned out to be a Christmas in August gift that just keeps on giving.
First, there was the fact that Ippolito and MacKenzie booked the high-profile, Edmonton-shot gig to begin with. It also gave 23 of their family members, including two-year-old daughter Clara-Anne, a chance to create some new yuletide memories after both clans were cast alongside them. It became an international sensation on TV and online, garnering millions of viewers. Then came the news last Sunday that the emotional ad, titled Misunderstood, had won a Creative Arts Emmy Award in Los Angeles.
That wasn’t the only welcome news though. “We sprouted our own little Apple baby,” Ippolito said. “Nine months later takes us to now and we’re due for baby No. 2.” (Chilly weather leads to snuggling, and snuggling leads to canoodling, and… Well, go ask you parents about the rest of the story. -Ed.)
You know the story of the video by now, A large holiday family get together, the whole family is enjoying it, except for the teen, who really seems wrapped up in that iPhone 5s of his… (See it all above.)
“I think it showed a picture of what we all kind of want,” says Ippolito. “We want that happy family and those core values. In addition to that, I think it was a bold move the Apple put themselves out there. They used their product in kind of a questionable way, in the sense that he looks like he’s using the product to separate himself from his family. In fact he uses the product to connect on a deeper level.”
The tale began when Ippolito and MacKenzie answered a Calgary casting call in November for a “top-secret” commercial. It turns out the project required a real family. So Ippolito and MacKenzie did what any aspiring actors would do, they called their own relatives.
So the pair convinced aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins and both sets of scene-stealing Clara-Anne’s grandparents to come aboard before knowing what the ad was advertising. It took some convincing. After all, it was a four-day shoot and most of the 23 newbie actors had day jobs. Ippolito and MacKenzie were the only family members who had worked on a set before.
After a crash course in “Filmmaking 101”, the family was ready. Some family members took to the thespian way of life more than others. “The old man — Grandpa — is really keen on it,” Ippolito says. “He got my sister to take some headshots for him the other day.”