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Apple's New 'Balloons' Ad: What's It All About?

Full-screen effects in iMessage and how to use them
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September 30, 2016

Following the introduction of the iPhone 7, Apple launched an ad campaign with the tagline “practically magic.” It began with a couple of video ads, each of which touts a key hardware feature of the company’s new smartphone: “Midnight” for its low-light camera and “Morning Ride” for its water resistance.

Now, a new “practically magic” video ad has been released by Apple in the form of “Balloons.” But unlike its predecessors, this new ad touts a software feature, specifically the new full-screen effects in iMessage on iOS 10.

Up, up, and away

Up, up, and away

The minute-long ad starts with a lone red balloon coming out of a house in a rural area. It then continues with the balloon going on a journey across the countryside. Along the way, it meets a yellow balloon. Together they float away and presently converge and travel with lots and lots of other balloons of different colors through the city (Chicago, to be exact) until they enter a room in a building where a woman picks up her iPhone to view an iMessage she’s received: a birthday greeting with a balloon screen effect. The ad ends with a cloud of balloons over the city and the tagline “practically magic” preceded by the line “expressive messages on iPhone 7.”

It’s worth noting, though, that “expressive messages” are not exclusive to iPhone 7. Rather, they can also be sent and received on any device that runs iOS 10, in which iMessage effects are introduced.

But if you’re still unfamiliar with them, you might be wondering how you can use full-screen effects with iMessage.

How to use full-screen effects with iMessage

How to use full-screen effects with iMessage

Starting in iOS 10, you can use full-screen effects with iMessage to enliven the screen when you send a message with balloons and other animations.


Enter your message in iMessage.

Touch and hold the Send button (the circled up arrow), then tap Screen.

Swipe to the left to see the available full-screen effects, including balloons, confetti, lasers, fireworks, and shooting star.

Tap the Send button to send your message with your selected full-screen effect.


For certain common messages, iMessage may automatically send them with accompanying full-screen effects. For example, sending “Happy birthday” or “Congratulations” automatically animates the screen with balloons or confetti.