APPLE, DOWN TO ITS CORE?
STONE the crows! Creative destruction even applies to Apple.
You might have missed Apple’s extraordinary advertisements, what with all the coups and threats of civil war over the few days, (the Crows hear things are nearly as bad in Egypt as the ALP).
The company has run colour double pages in the papers (yes in print!) announcing that it designs its products in creative California. It is a version of a TVC, which convinces the Crows Apple is en route to the end.[i]
There are three kinds of corporate campaign, ego, apology and assertion. Unloved organisations, insufficiently admired and upset about it, indulge in the first. The Crows remember the Australia Post “we deliver” TV campaign, which explained that it did a jolly good job of delivering letters.[ii] Chevron is running one now in which prominent people agree with its belief that broadly speaking motherhood and equivalents are good things.[iii]
The apology ad is rarer, for obvious reasons, but there are times when it is the only answer to a super stuff-up. Toyota set the standard after quality control problems a few years back.[iv] The Crows wonder what VW will do.
However, really anxious organisations that fear for their future try to convince anybody who will listen that everything is okay, that their business strategy is sound, that they at the top of their game – when manifestly they are not, otherwise why are they advertising that they are?
Which is what the Crows want to know about Apple. Since the celebrated 1984 Super Bowl Macintosh advertisement, Apple has built a brand synonymous with creativity.[v] Such is its authority that people are actually more creative after they see Apple’s logo.[vi]
That the company responsible for the IPod, IPhone and IPad, in less than a decade, feels the need to assert its creativity seems absurd and yet it does. Apple’s share price dropped from $US700 plus, to $385 earlier this year. Sure, the company is immensely profitable – but the market is unhappy without regular miracles and a lot of them.[vii]
Perhaps this is because everybody assumes that Apple is a one-man brand, if not nothing then a lot less without Steve Jobs.[viii] Maybe it is the inevitable outcome of imitators improving – Samsung hypes to hipsters, suggesting Apple phones and tablets are elderly ideas of innovation.[ix] Otherwise, it could be the creative destruction inherent to corporate lifecycles – having created entirely new markets in distributing music and movies and news Apple now has to defend its market against raiders.[x]
Unless it is the result of flying car syndrome, which occurs as people assume technology in advance and then expect updates.[xi] There are people who play Quidditch, presumably practising for the day the flying broomsticks arrive.[xii]
While the Crows are continually amazed and delighted with their Igadgets the rest of the world seems to take what was beyond belief at the turn of the century as the equivalent of electricity, essential but not all that amazing. Sure, the world existed without smart phones or music and media on tablets a decade ago.
But what has Apple done for us lately?
[i] “Designed by Apple in California,” Campaign Brief, June 12 @ www.campaignbrief.com/2013/06/designed-by-apple-in-californi.html recovered on July 7
[ii] Australian Screen, “Australia Post, ‘We deliver’ 1986 @ http://aso.gov.au/titles/ads/australia-post-letter-writing/clip1/ recovered on July 7
[iv] Alex Nunez, “Toyota recall apology includes mea-culpa TV spot,” Autoblog, February 7, 2010 @ http://www.autoblog.com/2010/02/07/video-toyota-recall-apology-blitz-includes-new-mea-culpa-tv-spo/ recovered on July 7
[vi] Grainne M Fitzsimons, Tanya L Chartrand and Gavan J Fitzsimons, “Automatic effects of brand exposure on automatic behaviour, how Apple makes you ‘think different’ ” Journal of Consumer Research, 35 (June) 2008, 1-15
[vii] Reiss Su, “Apple shares get boost from iWatch news,” International Business Times July 4 @ http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/486410/20130704/apple-inc-iphone-iwatch.htm#.UdgL6Pf4WSo recovered on July 7
[viii] Nicholas Thompson, “Does Apple have a bruise,” The New Yorker, October 5 2012
[ix] Ewan Spence, “Apple strikes back against Samsung and the Galaxy S4 marketing,” Forbes, March 17
[x] Nigel Walton and Klaus Oestreicher, in “Google and Apple’s gale of creative destruction,” University of Worcester (2012) outline how Schumpeter’s idea applies to IT but argue Apple remains innovator not defender @ http://eprints.worc.ac.uk/2095/ recovered on July 7
[xi] James Gunn, “Before inventing, imagining,” New York Times May 9 2012