Yesterday, Apple announced its new series of products at a conference in Cupertino. The event had a mysterious white box, the requisite Apple fanboys, and U2 was there (a free album is on Itunes right now).
To much fanfare, CEO Tim Cook announced two new phones, the long-awaited Apple Watch, and related software upgrades. During the conference, he went over some of the reasons the new devices are better, which can be found in greater detail here. (1)
This is very much in line with the way Apple has announced products in the past: a great event, preceded by much hype, and the classic “One more thing” to finish the event in style. However, the next step-marketing to consumers-is where Apple deviates from almost every other company.
If you go back to what we think of as ancient history, this is perhaps Apple’s most iconic ad:
If you look carefully, the ad doesn’t tell you anything about Apple’s product. Instead, this emphasizes the psychological value of the computer: you will not be a mindless drone-you have an identity if you have this product. This advertising can be seen again and again, from the silhouette ads (3), to the child making a christmas movie (4), and finally to the ads shown yesterday.
These ads reinforce the luxury aspect of Apple: if you own these, you will look sleek, cool, refined. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon provided the vocals for the Iphone 6 spot-aren’t they cool, awesome, funny guys? Don’t we all want to be like them?
This isn’t a new phenomenon. As seen in the “1984” ad, this tactic goes back for quite a while. However, is it effective? As Apple loses market share to Android, whose phones may not be marketed as beautifully, but are marketed more functionally, is this an approach that is sustainable and, in the long run, successful?
Apple markets its products as a lifestyle. When you buy an IPhone, you aren’t buying a phone. No, you are buying an experience, a lifestyle, a choice about who you are as a person. Will you shoot a video that makes your family cry on vacation? Will you show off this luxury item as a status symbol?
With Apple’s recent capture of Angela Ahrendt from Burberry,(7) this focus is emphasized even more. In the months to come, sales figures and tech blogs will show if this approach to advertising and marketing is still enough to get customers to pony up for the latest igizmo.
1. Bonnington, C. (2014, September 9). See All the Glorious Gadgets From Apple’s Big Event.Wired.
2. antisubliminal. 2006, June 19. Apple-1984. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R706isyDrqI
3. EveryAppleAd. 2012, December 30. Apple COMPLETE ipod “Silhouette” ad campaign compilation (2004-2008). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQw3mVWXncg
4. SilveSnow. 2013, December 17. Apple iPhone Christmas Commercial 2013. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v76f6KPSJ2w
5. EveryAppleAd. 2014, September 9. Apple iPhone 6 ad feat. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon – Duo. 2014. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VXKlX1GE4M
6. Today News. 2014, September 9. Introducing Apple Watch – Apple iwatch Official Video Commercial AD 2014. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2ROrd0dJ9k
7. Martin, J. (2013, October 20). From ‘Apple Computer’ to ‘Apple Lifestyle’ Retrieved September 10, 2014.