Before you condemn Apple again…
Take a look at some history first. This post was originally going to be a short jab at Apple for cloning the “Dude, you're getting a Dell!” adverts, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. I knew Apple ran some pretty horrendous ads back in the 80's and 90's, so I decided to watch a few of them before I hit “Publish.” I stumbled onto something that completely nullified my point. I'll get to that in a second.
What kind of ads do we think of when we think of Steve Job's Apple? 1984? Here's to the crazy ones? Mac vs. PC? The iPod dancer silhouettes? Fanboy or no, it's clear that Steve (and Chiat\Day) created some amazing and influential marketing.
The TV spots for the iPad 2 were particularly amazing to me. Instead of touting features, they advertised experiences. With iPad, you can see your grandparents. Engage your toddler. Compose musical works of wonder. There's no “call gran gran” app, but the FaceTime feature enables that experience. I sincerely believe there's no better way to sell a product than to appeal to emotion, behavior, and the problem your product was created to solve. Features, specs, and apps are a means to that end – definitely not selling points. This frustrates me to no end with the barrage of Samsung and Motorola ads for Android phones, which use CGI and scantily clad women in leather to sell “impossibly thin” and “purple” phones. When all the Apple Fanboy bashing, pyrotechnics, lasers, and fake apps are done, I still have no idea why I'd want to buy that phone.
So back to that video I found. It recalls many Apple ads from 1997-2001 – just after Steve Jobs returns to Apple and saves the company.
The goal of these ads are to highlight the following:
- Think Different
- Pentium II is a snail, G3 is “twice as fast”
- Apple lit an Intel Bunnysuit man on fire. G3 is “twice as fast”
- iMac – they're different colors
- PC laptops are steamrolled, G3 laptop is “twice as fast”
- PowerMac G3 can split open
- Macs now ship with a laser mouse
- This iMac is blue
- This iMac is red
- This iMac is white
- Macs won't break during Y2K. PC's will
- The PowerMac can perform 1,000,000,000 calculations per second
- The G4 Cube is a cube
- (PowerBook spec list)
So Apple… no, I'll even just say Steve Jobs, has a history of creating cheesy, empty, meaningless ads. The latest “Dude, I'm a genius!” ads don't represent the End of Times for Apple, but it sucks that they don't think they can maintain growth and product interest by appealing to why people buy these things in the first place. MacRumors said it yesterday:
…it appears that the company is looking to humanize itself and make it less about the products and more about the entire Apple ecosystem, including the personal services offered at the Apple Retail Stores including the Genius Bar and One-to-One training service.
All of Apple's marketing has been different lately. They're pushing hard on the Retina display on Mac and iPad, and they're using celebrities to sell iPhones. I think we should get over it and move on… for now. We can always pick up our pitchforks again when the iPhone 5 comes out and something happens that actually matters.