I think if the brilliantly simple I (heart) NY campaign was pitched today, it would be rejected. We have become too cynical — too suspicious of advertising for something so direct to work. The reason it endures now is that it’s survived long enough to become beloved kitsch.
(click it to see it move)
Today, while the Boston police are tracking the 2nd suspected Boston Marathon bomber, I clicked on a news story, and had to watch a video ad first. It was for a buddy cop movie with lots of guns, car chases. It did not feel like entertainment. It did not feel fun today. Maybe that’s the correct reaction to seeing guns and a car chase. Maybe they should not be entertainment.
I saw “Argo” on Saturday, which began with a very simple history lesson to remind the audience that the US engineered a coup and supported a dictator in order to secure oil supplies, which resulted in unfathomable misery and killings for decades. Plus the 1979 hostage crisis, etc, etc.
Now this bombing, today.
I’m not condoning violence. I abhor violence. But I also recognize many people are very angry about all sorts of things we generally don’t think about, and from their perspective, it’s with cause. I recognize karma. I recognize there’s always more to the story. And the victims are usually innocent of the cause.
Please be nice. Everyone, please learn to forgive the past and work toward peace and understanding. Violence on top of violence does no good.
You know the recent ones with the Ferris Bueller-like Apple genius? The press has been uncomplimentary, as have the bloggers. But I think there is actually a strategy here. Once Apple sells Macs to all the “low hanging fruit” who lust after beautiful design, they need to win over other populations of potential customers. One such group would be people who are afraid they won’t know how to get started. These ads humorously address common unspoken fears among potential first-time computer buyers. They aren’t speaking to the kind of people who read Mashable.
Despite all the accusations of pandering — something about these Apple ads feels right to me: I think they get the mood right. I’ve sat with PC users far too often and felt how confused and frustrated they are at this box in front of them that makes everything so damn hard to do and hard to understand (from their perspective). I think these ads give a subliminal message that it’s going to be OK — this computer will work for you. You’ll be able to figure it out. That’s very reassuring to an audience of people that is not technical, not geeks — not us.
I give Apple credit for trying to go beyond beauty shots and selling design, to an attempt at communicating other aspects of the ownership experience. The Apple market is now the mass-market, not just creative professionals. These ads are not targeted at the geek core, but at first-time purchasers, switchers, and the type of customer that has trouble understanding the difference between the hard drive and the CPU.
There is a population that won’t trust the corporate voice telling them “don’t worry — it’ll just work — buy it because it’s beautiful and the people in the photos are all young, gorgeous and happy”. Maybe these future Apple customers need more evidence. Maybe they are not impressed by industrial design. Maybe Apple is reaching beyond the already-converted.
These are the ads to which I refer:
This really hits my sweet spot — health and sci-fi technology. I stumbled across this report and got hooked.
There are 3 online video extras about Ray from this report. This page holds the 3rd, and has links to the other two.
And Singularity University, which he cofounded to advance technology for good:
And this is his online nutrition store:
This sign, in a local merchant’s booth, says “Love all, serve all. Help ever, hurt never.”
Good advice, not just for business, but for life.
This TED presentation shows how we could make windows energy-efficient, get free solar power from any structural surface, and store it all efficiently, or share it with your neighbors. This is highly disruptive technology. “Disruptive” meaning “threatening to current energy industries”.