Posts tagged ‘iPhone’

The Apple iPhone and the elusive image of branded love

Last week as I watched one news report after another showing hundreds of people lined up outside Apple stores across America, all of whom hoped – or perhaps it would be more accurate to say needed – to be among the first to get the new iPhone in their pink, sweaty hands, it occurred to me that this, at least from a corporate standpoint, is what love looks like. These people were willing to suffer for a product in a way that few people in the twenty-first century are willing to suffer for a cause. For a brand, it really doesn’t get any better.*

Very few brands will ever sniff the thin air that surrounds this mountaintop. Nonetheless, it’s important to know it exists because it reminds those of us who toil within advertising’s smoky factories of what what we’re supposed to be trying to achieve. As agencies focus more and more on the arcane sciences of data analysis, ROI measurement and predictive modeling, it’s easy for advertising to begin to feel like something that’s akin to strip-mining. Don’t let it. If you’re doing it right, it’s about love. It’s about generating passion for the brands you work on. It’s about tapping into visceral desire.

So how do you get there? How do you “ladder up” (an odious bit of corporate English) to a more emotional connection between the consumer and the brand? With apologies to the great American philosopher Frank Zappa, I have borrowed and altered slightly a few phrases from a song called “Packard Goose”** (it should be noted that the lyrics owe no small debt to a T.S. Eliot poem called “The Rock”–seriously)  to remind us of our obligation to elevate the brand grist we are given and turn it into something that arouses passion:

Data is not information.

Information is not knowledge.

Knowledge is not wisdom.

Wisdom is not truth.

Truth is not beauty.

Beauty is not love.

Love is the only thing that matters.

When one ponders these words, it’s apparent that they’re a pretty good re-telling of the Apple story. The company has taken  a bunch of ones and zeros and through a bit of sorcery transformed them into products that do extraordinary things – things for which people will leave their loved ones and the comfort of their overstuffed sofas to stand sweating with the faithful in the heat of summer. May the rest of us one day be so lucky.

* For causes, I grant you, it is a bit disheartening.

** You may find Mr. Zappa’s original lyrics here.


June 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm 1 comment

Do marketers overestimate the value of the iPhone?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple and RIM (i.e., the Blackberry guys) “accounted for only 3% of all cellphones sold in the world last year but 35% of operating profits, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Brian Modoff. The disparity will become even starker this year when, he estimates, the two will take 5% of the market in unit terms but 58% of total operating profits.” Obviously, this is jolly good news for Apple and RIM, but is it good news for marketers?

iPhones are undoubtedly one of the coolest technology products ever, and they sold 5.2 million units in the last quarter (up a staggering 626% from the same period last year), yet they still hold a very small percentage of the mobile phone market. How many brands are rushing headlong into the development of an iPhone app even when the market share numbers may not justify it? Of course, there’s something to be said for the caché of having a brand presence on the latest gadget, but I suspect the allure of that approach is fleeting in this challenging economy (at least for the clients who are paying the bills).

July 21, 2009 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment

“No sex, no gasoline. Just give me some technology and leave me alone.”

A recent study by German boadband association Bitkom reveals that 84% of young people would choose having the internet and a mobile phone over having a romantic partner and a car. No word on whether the car was German or American.

What do you suppose the figures would be for other media? I suspect television would be nearly as high. MP3s and gaming consoles as well. While I take the study with a big grain of German salt, I think it’s not wrong to ask how technology is changing both what we feel we need to have a happy life and the social structure itself.

Perhaps Sartre got it right when he said, “L’enfer, c’est les autres” (“Hell is other people.”). Heaven, apparently, is an iPhone.

March 25, 2009 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

Stupid yet amusing new iPhone app; smart and profitable online idea from Prince.

Not happy with the way your lips look? Can’t afford Botox, zany lipstick or really pointy teeth? You’re in luck. Thanks to a new iPhone app, you can talk into the back of your phone and a cartoon mouth on its screen will synch-up with yours. Check out “Mouth Off” here.

In other less stupid news and nakedly capitalistic news, Prince is offering a new internet subscription services. For $77, he’ll perform for you live from his ever-so-tasteful LA rock-star pad. He’ll even take requests. I have already asked if he can do anything by Gene Autry. No response as yet.  See all the gory details of the subscription service offered by the Artist Who Formerly Displayed His Backside here.

March 22, 2009 at 12:54 am 2 comments


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