advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Apple iPad ad they don’t want you to see?

Okay, it’s Newsday’s ad for their app (which is on the iPad in the spot), but supposedly iGod isn’t happy with his new toy being used as a fly swatter. Unconfirmed reports say Apple has issued a cease and desist, but given what BlendTec regularly does to their toys, my armchair inner lawyer says they have no case. Which becomes the stepping off point for some issues with the brand as a whole.

One of the topics discussed this week as part of our Social Media State of the Union panel during Baltimore’s Ad Week was how Apple doesn’t use social media. I say it does, even if indirectly. For weeks prior to the must-have release, Jobs gets his fanboy minions lathered up, who then spread conspiracy theories across the blogosphere as to just what will be released.

He plays them perfectly—and they play long.

But when I see their possible attempts to block an ad like that, I get an uneasy feeling. Apple messaging is very much about ease of use, right? It’s a computer experience for the rest of us, with a good story told simply through simple ads.

Additionally, the underlying message was that they were very much for a certain niche, which made you wonder if this exclusivity would ultimately hinder their efforts to own a larger market share. It’s the classic talking point that PC Nation is always quick to fall back on, noting how much of the market Apple didn’t have or the how much bang for the buck it doesn’t offer.

But this past decade, Apple has seemingly rendered this argument moot with a push to expand beyond a better computing experience—to a better life experience. They do this with iEverything they make, from iPods to iPads. No less than iGod’s programma from anotha mutha Steve Wozniak himself noted how Apple has moved beyond its core base.

While there may be questions about conceding anything in a PC vs. Mac war, there’s no question that they’ve still managed to infiltrate hearts and minds with sexy handheld tech. You might not buy a Mac, but an iPod sure looks sweet, and hey, the iTunes library will work on your PC.

So is it Apple’s intention to become so big that your mom checks her Facebook account through her iPad?

If so, then Jobs needs to cede control of the broader conversation around his brand, no matter what form it takes—because much of it goes on whether he likes it or not. And that means also letting go when publications like Newsday embrace their technology and make it part of their lives. I don’t know, maybe Apple can’t stand it when someone else influences your life with their products.

I liken it to the fear brands had (and still have) of going out into a blogging world beyond their walled garden website. When one Mommy Blogger™ feeling righteous indignation over a coupon snub takes them to task and mobilizes her 1,000 followers, brands panic. Jobs seems to be acting the same way. Can this type of zealous control lend itself to a niche brand poised to move past niche?

Not sure, but it sure has sold a lot of iPads so far.


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