Brand: Mac (Apple)
Link: Click Here
Target: Dissatisfied PC users
As advertising, these spots are good but not terribly surprising. They hit familiar themes of comparison between Macs and PCs like reboots, freeze-ups and general ease of use. As advertising strategy, however, they offer a glimpse into Apple’s master strategy made possible by the success of the iPod. The revealing spot in this instance is the ‘iLife‘ ad which shows the PC guy dancing while listening to his iPod. As he talks to the Mac guy, the PC guy remarks at how well the iPod works and how easy it is to use with iTunes on the PC. The Mac guy points out that there are a lot of other lifestyle applications that work just as well on the Mac as iTunes and that they come bundled with the Mac.
And there, in a nutshell, is the Apple strategy for this year. Mac turned digital music into serious business by coming up with an application (iPod + iTunes) that was slick and easy to use. Now after spending a year moving the Mac platform to Intel chips and creating Boot Camp software that allows Intel Macs to boot up into Windows, Mac is connecting the dotted lines for consumers. iPods work great and their software is easy to use. They both come from Apple which makes the iMac. Macs have other great applications, they still run Microsoft Office and they are very easy to use, don’t freeze up or get viruses, etc.
This is a trojan horse strategy. All along, we thought the iPod was just a nice gift to American civilization from Apple. Instead, it is a stealth invasion intended to convert millions of people to Macs. It makes great sense as a strategy. In addition to being a nice revenue boost, the iPod effectively becomes cheap sampling for the iMac. While we do not expect to see Apple with Dell’s share level anytime soon, it is a sensible strategy for a company ready to break out of the margins of the computing world.
Apple’s strategy is consistently to play the ‘good computer/bad computer’ moral card when positioning against the PC. This turns some people off. Douglas Atkin’s work on cult brands (click here to learn more) is instructive on this point. Even though Apple is struggling for mainstream acceptance, it still needs to operate as a cult brand if it is to maintain its expertise as the differently thinking computer company. That means running the risk of offending some potential customers in order to gain the stronger passion of others. Although this may not play with part of the mainstream now, we think it is a sound strategy.
One risk that these spots run for being so visually stark and simple is that they lack stopping power. It will not be clear to anyone casually eying the TV that they are watching an Apple spot and that may cause this campaign to get less attention than it needs.
Branding Bottom Line:
Apple reveals its thirst for world domination. Which is fine as long as we get a Nano.