A couple of weeks ago I received a text from someone pointing out that an article on our website was now a little out of date. It was a little article I’d penned on brand championship and where it lived in any organisation.
And I cited Steve Jobs.
And I forgot to up-date it when he passed away. Oops.
I did reply to my critic that a plumber’s own taps alway leak. This was my way of saving face. And I was thinking of rewriting the article to talk optimistically about how, although no longer with us, Steve brand champion spirit will live on to guide the company he created.
But then I see the commercials Apple put to air during the Olympics and I would have been shown to be embarrassingly wrong…
The spots are terrible.
They depict a young Apple ‘genius’ from an Apple Genius Bar (doing a Matthew Broderick impersonation) helping dopey Apple owners do basic stuff on their computers.
If you wound back the clock 4 or 5 years and rebranded these spots ‘Microsoft’ then I think they’d hit a mark. But not for Apple. Not today.
Apple owners believe they are people on the cutting edge; a cut above the rest. They believe they are the empowered holders of the secret truth… that computers are there to work for you, not you for them. That is the Windows experience. Apple makes it all simple. Apple people are ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things. They are not dopes who can’t even realise when it’s time to phone an ambulance for their labouring wives…
These commercials show a world inhabited by stereotypical buffoons that could have been cast from any American Saturday morning sit-coms… over acted and playing the whole time for laughs. There is a sleazy computer store owner who looks like he’d cheat his grandmother out of her wheelchair… There’s a drop-kick father-to-be who acts so clueless it’s a wonder he worked out how to get his wife pregnant in the first place. Then there is the dim-witted air passenger who forgot his wedding anniversary (probably the most overused plot for a sit-com that’s ever been… apart from the ‘My wife is in labour and I’m panicking’.)
These commercials lack the genuinely original whit of the ‘Hi, I’m a Mac’ series. They don’t move my soul like ‘Here’s to the crazy ones.’ And they totally fail to change the world as ‘1984’ did.
Apple’s first venture without Steve is a clanger…
So, to update our website article… Where does your brand champion live? If Apple doesn’t listen to the multitude of people who are legitimately criticising their latest marketing effort, we might say Apple’s brand died with Mr Jobs. And we’ll all mourn it’s passing.
See the ads at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXTzzxiCfPw