Two new campaigns from Apple feature real Apple consumers.Â The new iPhone campaign features a variety of real consumers, from a businessman to an airline pilot.Â Each explains how they use the iPhone to help them with real everyday problems while visually demonstrating on the iPhone.Â The second campaign is for the new iPod Touch.Â This campaign does not feature a consumer, but was created by a consumer from stock footage and gained a viewership on YouTube.Â Apple began running this spot last weekend nationally as the launch spot for the iPod Touch.
Apple has suffered from a series of missteps over the summer which showed the company to be somewhat removed from the everyday concerns of its core brand followers.Â First was the $200 price drop on the iPhone.Â In itself a good idea (a classic skim-pricing strategy), Apple neglected to consider the impact on those who had waited in long lines just a few months earlier to pay more for the new phone.Â After some waffling, Steve Jobs announced a $100 consumer credit on the iPhone for early purchases.
The next misstep – also affecting the iPhone – was the strategy Apple initially adopted of keeping the phone locked from outside developers.Â This may have resulted from Apple’s contract with AT&T, but it mirrors Apple’s general approach to design which is to tightly control all aspects of the final product.Â In the case of the iPhone, this strategy proved unpopular as developers and consumers alike wanted to add functionality to the phone.Â Compounding the issue, a number of users who had made unauthorized alterations to their iPhone – including unlocking it to use on other carriers than AT&T – found that installing phone updates disabled the phone entirely.Â Apple eventually reversed course by allowing outside developers to design applications to run natively on the phone.
Beyond the specifics of the new spots for the iPhone and iPod Touch – which are both extremely well executed – there is a more important underlying theme for Apple which is a good sign for the company.Â Pulling a video off of YouTube and blessing it as the launch spot for a major new product is a startling development for this close-lipped organization.Â Spotlighting ordinary consumers is an old ad technique (the testimonial may pre-date even print advertising) but shows an engagement with real consumers that is a definite change for Apple.Â In sum, we think Apple is starting to realize the power of the brand cult it has created beyond their usefulness in populating the churches they have built for the – the Apple Stores.
Allowing consumer to engage in co-creation with the Apple brand is a good sign for the brand as well as a sign of the times for marketing.
Co-creation is a process that is difficult to stop once the lid is ripped off the top.Â Apple needs to carefully map the path of its upcoming brand extensions to ensure it will continue to listen to and engage with consumers.
Branding Bottom Line:
The iPhone proves more useful than the U.S. national air traffic control system.Â Scary.