There’s been much hullabaloo over the “Misunderstood” holiday ad Apple is running. Many say it’s wonderful and potentially the best ad of the year. I like it, but it doesn’t feel like Apple to me. Take a look:
I’ve been a fan and customer of Apple for close to 15 years. I was an Apple user before it was cool to be an Apple user. And I always enjoyed their marketing. Under Jobs, Apple’s marketing was always about the product, its simplicity, and clean lines / look (white everywhere!). As soon as the ad came on or I flipped to the magazine ad, I instantly knew it was Apple. There was no mistaking it. It was different.
Before the above campaign it was the “Mac vs. PC” campaign. Again, unmistakable as to what it was and what Apple was selling. And the campaign keyed on points of differentiation. One of the tests you can use to see how effective your marketing campaign is / was is to use the ‘Swap Technique’. Cover up your logo on a print ad or watch / listen to your TV or radio ad without a mention of your brand’s name. If it’s unmistakable as to what brand the message is conveying, you win. If your ad could easily be used as an ad for a competitor, you lose.
For example, take a look at the Google India ad which caused quite a stir earlier this year:
This very well could have been an ad for an iPhone. Vice versa the “Misunderstood” Apple ad could very well have been an ad for an Android device. Don’t get me wrong, the Google India ad and Apple “Misunderstood” ad are great and will probably win a creative award or two, unfortunately they miss the mark on selling the product. When it comes to advertising, your marketing shouldn’t be about winning awards, it should be about making sales. One way to do this is to show how your product is different than everyone else’s. Don’t worry about being ‘creative’ focus on being different.
I wonder whether or not the Apple “Misunderstood” ad would have flown with Steve Jobs. For me, it misses the Apple feel, the simplicity, the sleek, clean look and for the most part the product.
Your mission for 2014…stop being creative and start being different.
Look at what your competitors are doing and do the opposite. Being different should scare the shit out of you and that’s a great thing.
Good things come to those who wait. Great things come to those who don’t. Don’t wait, be different and lead in 2014.
If you need some help being different in 2014, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “I’ll be different in 2014” in the subject line. I respond to every email.