Saturday, January 30, 2010
Weekly Rant: And You Think The iPad Has Marketing Problems
As you no doubt know, Apple announced the iPad this week. And, as you probably expected, reactions have ranged from "OMG this will change my life" to "Only one application at a time? WTF!?" There's also been a lot of chatter about the product's name and whether it's too evocative of a feminine hygiene product. Considering that I don't see much need for an iPad right now -- I laughed when Steve Jobs spoke breathlessly about what an exceptional Internet experience the iPad provides (my computer does just fine, thanks) -- I've enjoyed seeing Apple get mocked a bit here and there. Then again, if you ask me, the backlash against the iPad's name seems a wee bit over the top, considering that I've never seen anyone break into a giggle fit talking about a pad of paper. (And speaking of "wee," the Nintendo Wii seems to be doing just fine, despite a far more questionable name.) Besides, Apple has a darn good marketing record. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
As for the marketing minds dreaming up ad campaigns for Diet Dr. Pepper, I'm dubious.
Do me a favor. Spend 30 seconds watching the ad below ...
Done? OK. Apparently the commercial has been out for months, but I saw it for the first time last week. So forgive me if this has been covered elsewhere, but ... this commercial has more logic problems than The Lovely Bones. The premise is that Diet Dr. Pepper has "23 satisfying flavors and no calories" but that no one believes it. So how does Diet Dr. Pepper seek to demonstrate that a "satisfying diet drink" isn't a myth? By aligning the product with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Bigfoot, a leprechaun, a fairy and an alien. Of course!
Oh, sure, sure, sure. I get it. Within the motion-capture world of the ad, the premise is that Santa & Friends are real, thus illustrating the challenge of getting people to believe. But, see, I realize this is really nuanced and everything but ... Santa & Friends aren't fucking real. They are elements of make-believe. And consumers know that.
So, sure, snicker at Apple hucksters for being overly excited about the company's new ultra-thin pad, er, iPad. But trust that when Apple begins marketing the product, we won't get an "'I'm Necessary' Support Group" commercial with the iPad sitting in a circle with a Snuggie and Ted Williams' cryogenically frozen brain.