Well the Doc opened the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.
Dear Dr. Ads,
Apple has always run breakthrough ads promoting its breakthrough products. But we think its latest campaign is kind of . . . meh.
What do you think?
– Adam and Eve
Dear Adam and Eve,
The new Apple ads have, as the saying goes, fallen pretty far from the tree, yeah?
A little history is in order here.
In the beginning, there was the 1984 ad that ran during that year’s Super Bowl broadcast. (Yeah yeah – the Doc does know there were Apple ads before that one, including this 1983 spot featuring Kevin Costner. D’you know that?)
That spot launched the Super Bowl Adstravaganza – one-off commercials designed mostly to profit from the promopalooza around the Big Game.
After that came a variety of other campaigns, most notably the Mac and PC series. Representative samples:
Same themes as the 1984 ad, right? Apple gives you freedom, individuality, personality, uniqueness.
Accent on the you.
Now consider the current Apple campaign. Here’s one of a series of double-trucks running in newspapers like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and today’s Boston Globe:
This is it.
This is what matters.
The experience of a product.
How it makes someone feel.
When you start by imagining
What that might be like,
You step back.
You think . . .
And yack yack yack.
Oh, yeah – here’s the companion TV spot, titled “Our Signature”:
What’s wrong with this picture (tube)?
It’s all about them – all we we we. Just like the last graf of the print ad: “We’re engineers and artists. Craftsmen and inventors. We sign our work. You may rarely look at it. But you’ll always feel it. This is our signature. And it means everything.”
And all this time we thought the customer meant everything.
Plus, Designed by Apple in California? Is that supposed to make us forget the Third World manufacturing that produces this stuff?
Apple used to be the most sure-footed of marketers. But this is a major stumble.