Say hello to the iPope.
Apple, unable to produce new iPod silhouette commercials due to the ongoing labor dispute, has signed Pope Benedict XVI for a new commercial set to air in the fall.
Negotiations had been at a standstill for two months, when Apple CEO Steve Jobs reeled in the reluctant pontiff by surprising him with a custom-made PopePod (photo below).
According to sources, Steve bent the confidentiality rules to check out the Pope’s past purchases at the iTunes Store, then loaded up the gift with Benedict’s faves: Mozart and Metallica.
The Vatican is delighted with the deal, as it dovetails nicely with its campaign to boost ratings with “the young people.” Apple has agreed to sponsor the Pope’s 2010 Christmas Eve Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, which will be surrounded by a row of backlit iPod posters featuring the dancing Pope.
Apple is continuing to push for advertising rights to the Sistine Chapel, offering to tastefully adorn the biblical characters on the ceiling with the iconic white earbuds. This matter was unresolved at press time.
The commercial, tentatively titled Pope Rock, is scheduled to be filmed next week in Los Angeles. Vowing to be a “one-take Pope,” Benedict has been training religiously with a team of choreographers. “The Pope is a fast learner,” says Hollywood dance guru Sal Riner, “three days into it, he’s breakdancing, doing the Moonwalk and the Whirlygig.”
Meanwhile, there is tension in Redmond. Microsoft, fearing that its Zune music player will fall even farther behind iPod as a result of Apple’s Pope coup, is closing in on a deal with the Dalai Lama.