Apple’s once legendary marketing has taken on a new look recently. It’s cluttered. Wordy. Complicated. This is not a good thing.
Once the envy of product marketers around the world Apple’s team – both internal and external – appears to have lost their midas touch. I’ve seen the company’s ‘Designed By Apple in California’ TV spots and winced at the sugary, self-congratulatory tone of the commentary. As a self-confessed Apple fanboy [I own an original iPad, a Macbook Air and a Macbook Pro Retina] I’ve felt uncomfortable with the company’s design videos where Jonny Ive attempts to over-intellectualize the fact that the phone design hasn’t changed much – the company claims that they ‘now measure the variances from product to product [they] now measure in microns’ – for those that aren’t familiar with the term, it’s a unit of measurement that is 1×10−6 of a metre or one-millionth of a metre, or one-thousandth of a millimetre.
Then I opened a recent copy of Wired and saw one of Apple’s iPad print adverts – and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It’s an advert that falls in to all of the bad practices that the company’s competition has continued to make for years. It’s everything Apple’s competitors have been doing for years. Not running adverts like this was what set the brand apart.
The advert in Wired has 16 lines of copy, which, I admit, I couldn’t be bothered to read in full until I started writing this post. The example, above, taken from the Apple website, for the iPhone has 28 lines of copy. 28 lines of copy?! On an advert. Adverts talk about their passion for producing users’ experience, about focusing on a few great things and about how ‘Designed by Apple in California’ is its signature.
I can’t stand the latest campaign – it’s not an advert that Apple runs! What happened to, ‘The iPhone you’ve been waiting for’ or ‘This Changes Everything. Again.’ or ‘Get the web delivered. Like you never have before.’ adverts? ‘Designed by Apple in California’ would be enough to deliver the message – nothing of value is added by 16 or 28 lines of copy! I doubt anybody reads them anyway!
We’ll have to wait until September 10 to see what direction the iPhone is heading, but on the evidence of its current advertising campaign Apple’s signature marketing is heading in the wrong direction! As product failures of a long list of companies – from $BBRY’s BlackBerry 10 and $MSFT’s Windows 8 – illustrate a good product can fail because of bad marketing and PR.
For Apple this latest change of marketing direction could prove to be disaster. What do you think to the company’s departure from its enigmatic minimalist adverts? Is less more?