at the intersection of brands, media and culture

Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Innovation that is just LoudEnough

In Brands, communications, Consumers, culture, marketing on December 8, 2008 at 6:03 am

Innnovation is typically focused on a few different paths. There are consumer needs, cultural trends, marketplace/technological opportunities, brand led innovation…and the often overlooked product difficency innovation.

There is an iPod development story that suggests that Steve Jobs is slightly hard of hearing. As a result, in his characteristic, idiosyncratic way, he demanded that the volume on the iPod be louder than on other MP3 players. Hence the ear blasting sound that you can now obtain.

Now most of us would probably just turn down the sound. But one company created this is a crafty little targeted product for hip, yet concerned mom and dads. LoudEnough are earphones for kids where you can set a maximum decible range for your little ones and keep their ears safe and sound. It’s a nice innovative product that solves a need (or creates one) while taking advantage of a product deficiency. The branding also nicely straddle the gap between communicating to mom/dad the purchaser, while still appealing to kids.

A crisp, green, Apple

In Brands, communications, marketing, strategy on December 3, 2008 at 6:18 am

I loathe using Apple as an example for anything. Not because it is wrong to do so but it is just so damn obvious. Regardless, they have done a pretty good job of greening up their notebook line and then announcing it to the world in a manner that suggests they have always been green.

The environment has always been a sticky issue for the boys and girls from Cupertino. When I was at Sterling Brands we did a pro-bono project for Climate Counts. We were rather surprised that of all of the examined consumer electronic companies, Apple ranked the worst. There were also YouTube videos from folks like GreenPeace lambasting Apple for it’s environmental policy.

The new Apple campaign (here), is the advertising equivelent of a plea bargin deal where they pay the fine but don’t admit guilt, and that’s exactly the way that it should be. When a company updates it’s formulation or product line it shouldn’t feel as though it needs to shame itself for it’s past choices. It rather needs to present new and relevant reasons for purchase and if the environment or health or whathaveyou becomes part of the value equation then you talk about it. I’m still surprised how many brands, especially food stuffs, feel the need to say things like “now with no transfats!”, when a simple “no transfats” would do the trick.

Budget Advertising:

In advertising, communications on November 14, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Budget advertising can be problematic. When done poorly it can denegrate a brand and confuse consumers. Take this ad for, a computer optimizing software. At the end of the day it may be a failed concept, but it certainly isn’t going to help that the product only works on PCs and yet they show an Apple computer twice in the spot (three times if you count the keyboard). I realize that I may be slightly more saavy than the audience here, but showing an iBook going blue screen certainly isn’t the way to build up credibility as knowing anything about computers or how to make them work better

I feel the same way I do when I read a menu that mangles English…thinking that maybe if they would have taken 10 minutes and shown it to someone who knew what they were doing that they could have saved a lot of money.

Future Mac Ad

In Brands, communications, marketing on June 19, 2008 at 9:33 am

For everyone out there in MacFandom, here’s a sneak peek of what I’m relatively sure will be seen someday in the future. It reminds me of the user-generated iPod Touch ad that was later picked up, reproduced and seen around the world.

Apple gets serious about marketing

In Brands, Consumers, marketing, strategy, Uncategorized on May 23, 2008 at 11:38 am

Deep in my bi-coatiality I went to the Apple Store in SoHo yesterday to pick up a base station. (Yes, I know there are cheaper routers but this one looks cool!) My surprise came when the checkout girl asked if it would be ok if they e-mailed me my receipt.

First thought: ok, I’m environmentally friendly, sounds like a good company policy, why don’t more companies do this?

Second thought: HOLY COW, now Apple can track my purchases to an email address, know how long its been since I purchased something, and cheaply and easily send me coupons and incentives to upgrade, buy adjacent products and deeper entrench myself in MacFandom.

I’m not sure how many consumer brands could get away with this. I wouldn’t give most companies my email address but Apple, sneaky little devil, of course you can have it. Now get to sending me coupons for the iPhone. I’ve gotten over my aversion and now I think they are pretty cool.

Wine Label Innovation That’s Been a Long Time Coming

In Consumers, marketing, Uncategorized on April 13, 2008 at 12:27 am


Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

How many times have you tried to discreetly peel off a wine label in a restaurant? I’ve recently converted a few friends to the iPhone Wine Library, which isn’t really a product but an understanding that you can create a gallery of wine labels with notes about about what you liked about them in your iPhone. It also demonstrates that no matter where you pull out your iPhone and what you do with it it is still very cool.

Well, now Swiss Miss points us to peel-ready wine labels for the wino in all of us.

hat tip to dieline a sweet package design blog

Why Do We Buy Apple Computers?

In advertising on February 4, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Ah, yes, I just remembered. I buy Apple computers so I can take my bike and my dog to my creative job where I stir up envy among my co-workers by wearing my sweater around my neck like Kevin Costner in this old Apple ad. Whew, that was an intimate moment of self-reflection.

Nokia’s Next Episode

In advertising, communications, marketing, strategy, trends on January 24, 2008 at 10:20 am

Nokia is firing a shot at Apple, finally. While Nokia has been making great phones for awhile, it hasn’t seemed to be able to articulate a new future or to help customers envision how its products will change behavior.  I think this spot from Lowe may finally be that future.

The Mac Movie

In Branding, Brands, communications on January 23, 2008 at 10:37 am

I came across the trailer for macheads the movie and to be honest with you, I think it’s a little disturbing. After a few minutes I was waiting for someone to be saved at the alter by Steve himself or to cast out their Windows demons and start speaking in codes.

The Real Reason China Mobile Said No to the IPhone

In Brands, communications, Consumers, market research, marketing, research, strategy on January 14, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Engadet and others reported today that China Mobile backed out of negotiations to carry the iPhone.

“after saying the “iPhone model was not suitable for China” back in November, a spokesperson for China Mobile now says they’ve “terminated” discussions with Apple to bring the iPhone to China. China’s largest carrier gave no reasons for the decision though the fee sharing agreement is likely a contributing factor.”

But I would point back to the initial statement ” [the] iPhone model was not suitable for China” as the true reason the negotiations broke down.

I was in China in mid-2007 doing research on the mobile phone category and specifically looking at convergence devices. While the market there is filled with convergence devices, more respondents were carrying around multiple gadgets that they saw as best in class vs. relying on one device. Music players that were the size of a matchbox w/ readable song names (take that shuffle), Video players that were almost viewable by someone under 30 and nifty little phones.

The quote I most remember came in response to a prototype I was showing, “it’s too big to be my music player and too small to be a good video player.” I imagine that this consumer sentiment is what caused tepid negotiations between China Mobile and Apple. Except add in, it’s too big to be a phone.

In addition, consider that according to Business Week, “cell-phone replacement cycles in China that run 6 to 12 months faster than those of Europe or North America” which would presumably make long-term contracts less appealing. And, that Apple as a brand doesn’t possess nearly the cache in China that it does in the United States or even Europe. Again from Business Week, “the Mac platform only has 0.2% of total PC unit shipments, according to IDC,… Mac sales never took off there, in part due to perceptions that they’re too costly compared to Windows machine.”

At the end of the day, Apple needs China more than China Mobile needs Apple.