Tag Archives: iPhone

Apple Changing Direction With Celebrities in Ads? That’s Funny…

Often, our memories escape us when thinking about our beloved brands.  Certainly, some commercials and jingles that we’ve seen for brands will be etched clearly in our memories.  For others, that might not be the case.  Perhaps that’s why – as Apple’s better-than-expected quarterly earnings announcement continued the upward climb of its stock price – the buzz of discontent with the star-studded iPhone 4S commercials is reaching a crescendo.  In a couple of instances, I’ve even seen people lamenting that Steve Jobs must be turning in his grave with this supposed about-face. The funny thing is that they’re lamenting the use of celebrities in Apple ads, as if they’ve never been used before, when they’ve been doing so all along.

Perhaps the biggest concern for people is the use of Zooey Deschanel in a rainy day commercial showcasing the Siri product. One of the more succinct critiques abounding can be found on the Death + Taxes blog. I actually think the spot goes along with her established character and almost seems like a co-brand for her television show, THE NEW GIRL. I was a little more wierded out by the use of Samuel L. Jackson in another commercial – where he was using the assistance of Siri for gazpacho. Perhaps it is still within his “character” too, but his “brand” is emblazoned in my mind as bearing guns and dropping plenty of F bombs.

But, while Apple has set itself up well recently as a series of products for the everyman and made its largest statement with its ground-breaking 1984 commercial, they do have a history of using celebrities to pitch their wares.

They have ranged from the iconic musicians (U2, Eminem, Bob Dylan, etc.) in silhouette for the iPod release, to the celebrity as “A Mac” against the PC (Justin Long – pre Barrymore relationship and starring roles), and even “actor as geek” (Jeff Goldblum explaining simplicity of the iMac – funny to see phone jack for modem…) On a different note, but somewhat related: While doing the research for this, I even found a commercial for the Apple Lisa product featuring Kevin Costner before he became famous.

William Wei of Business Insider put together a 60 second history of Apple’s use of Celebrities in their ads. Does it say something about the company or brand that we can think that their history does not rely on celebrity if Goldblum was used and the iPod campaign was a little groundbreaking in itself? Check out the video to get caught up on their history.

As a brand, it is something to weigh when people have certain expectations of not just your products, but the way you market them. I think what sets Apple so far apart in this realm of “confusion” about celebrity usage is the fact that they have done such varied campaigns over the years. From groundbreaking TV ad creative to groundbreaking online advertising (remember the ESPN.com page that shifted and broke apart as a game was played on the iPhone a number of years ago? Their recent billboards around big cities show only an iPad and a finger reaching out to touch it.

Apple found itself in trouble a number of years ago when their computers were reaching only 3% of the market – in part because it was relying most heavily on the design and graphics community.  Since they have really broadened their product offering and communications to enable use by many different kinds of people in many ways, the change has been evident in their stock rising about $600 per share.

Are these celebrity spots the exclusive way they will move forward in the future? Probably not.  Will every Apple marketing product be fantastic? I would be shocked. If you look at the wealth of campaign elements for the iPhone 4S and Siri, they have had more annoying spots (remember the Rock God one?) than the better ones that show many more good reasons to have Siri (when it works.)

The key is, they keep trying different things and are seemingly able to hit where they need to hit.  For that reason, I can’t see Steve Jobs turning over in his grave.  I just think its funny that such a large number of Apple lovers would think so.


Everyone’s New Best Friend

After selling more than 4 Million units in 3 days, iOS5 and the iPhone 4S have introduced us to a new best friend – Siri.  The lucky few have begun their relationship already and the rest of us are pining for it.  Siri is there to help each and every one of us as we ask questions and Siri attempts to answer them.  The cool thing is that it is adaptive and will only get smarter as more people become friends with it.

Luckily, even those of us without the pleasure of a formal introduction get to enjoy the sly remarks and recommendations from Siri by way of sites like Siri Funny.  Of course, the sites have already begun popping up for people to share their conversations with their new best friend.  Some sites entered the fray even before Siri was able to meet its new 4 million friends this past weekend.

Here’s just a few good ones…


Too bad marketers can’t manipulate Siri’s responses… or can they?

Have fun with your new friend!

The iPhone 5 In Your Dizzying Future

The anticipation is about to come to an end, we hope.  Tomorrow, Apple will be doing a presentation and the assumption is that its squarely about the iPhone 5.  It is hard to remember any product update that has built such a stir as this iPhone 5 – if it is what the announcement is tomorrow.  Any other company would be lucky to have such large and elongated buzz about a product that people have no real clue about.  All of the conjecture and buzz has left many feeling dizzy, perhaps even queasy and with the general feeling that we are all looking up, waiting for a blur to drop in our hands to become the answer to everything.

Buzz began a LONG time ago about this product with “experts” stating its functionality, upgrades, design, etc.  Many agencies have been talking about what they will be able to pull off with the technical features of the iPhone – and we really have no clue.  For something like this to be so hot for so long, its amazing that no real sneak peeks have surfaced or been leaked.  Will it have RFID for more easily implemented Near Field Communications?  So many people have been talking about this as a functionality, that it is almost a foregone conclusion – we won’t know whether to laugh or cry if it doesn’t have that feature.  Certainly a lot of banks and retailers will be quite devastated if it doesn’t as they look to roll out more usage of digital wallets.  There have been so much speculation, including processors, Dual CDMA and GSM, screen size, face recognition security features, estimates on when the phones would hit stores and more.  This iPhone4U page has a dizzying set of updates that just highlights the speculation insanity. You would think that Golden Tickets are coming via chocolate bars.  The fact that the UK event is reported to be at the Covent Garden Apple store that I walked past 5 times over the last two weeks (after never passing it prior) makes me feel like I missed the chocolate bar by “that much.”

We’ll find out tomorrow if it is the game changer most are hoping for – or an update to the iPhone 4 that leaves everyone dismayed.  The interesting thing is that the model doesn’t even have to really do much to make a difference – its been anticipated for so long, it doesn’t even really have to.  Verizon users have been waiting for the phone since they started selling iPhones because most users decided to wait out the rumoured iPhone 5.  Much to everyone’s dismay, it did not follow the usual 12 month release cycle.  Sprint has even terminated its Premier program and is already rumoured to be looking at ways to bypass their all-inclusive pricing they have spent millions of advertising dollars on in their most recent campaign.

If we believe the rumours, there will be a mass exodus from Android phones to iPhones.  AT&T was excited about the iPhone pick up because they felt iPhones were outselling all of their Android phones combined.  They got into the game and have been sourly disappointed due to the reasons stated above.

The case study/s from this release should be the MBA standard for decades to come as there has not been anything like this in recent memory.  Fuzzy images of pieces of product presumed to be the iPhone 5.  Confusing discussions about an iPhone 4S product that may or may not come to light. Consumers holding off on buying until a new model comes out.  Employees of AT&T supposedly being told they can’t take vacations for the month of October. There hasn’t been this much anticipation for the past 5 Super Bowls combined.

Let’s see if the reality matches with the rumour tomorrow.  Hopefully, everything will be clearer so that we may finally rest regarding the iPhone 5 and turn our energies to what really matters – iPhone 6.

UPDATE – While there are some OS, Processor and Storage updates that were announced today for the iPhone 4S, it certainly was not what people were hoping for – especially all of those who were really believing that the RFID or Near Field Communications breakthrough would happen with an iPhone enabled technology.  Perhaps that’s why Sprint took out their 12 month update feature because they knew a lot of people would get this 4S and then want the 5 when and if it ever came out.  With all the anticipation for an iPhone 5, it certainly seems like a let down and much ado about nothing…even if there are some good new features with the 4S.