Apple iphone 4 Advertising #fail?

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Apple.  The Wall Street darling, design-led thinking, we’ve got a larger market capitalization than Microsoft, Apple.  The company that formerly encouraged us to Think Different, Apple.  The company that’s no longer a computer manufacturer, but an entertainment brand, Apple.   The company that can seemingly do no wrong, Apple. Until now, that is.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no 3G or wi-fi access, you’ve probably heard about the iphone 4’s recent antennae woes.  Getting your hands on a new iphone 4 is a challenge, which probably has more to do with Apple working to resolve this issue than the insatiable demand that characterizes most things they sell.  And while I am confident in their ability to rectify this technical issue, I wanted to comment on why the advertising for iphone 4 misses the mark, strategically.

The majority of Apple’s creative messaging for the iphone 4 focuses on FaceTime, its video calling capability.  Video calling used to be available only if you were on the StarShip Enterprise.  Back here on earth, high speed transmission rates and micro-sized video cameras now make video calling possible.   Apple is making a virtue of this feature, with TV commercials that illustrate the emotional benefit of being able to see your calling party, should you have unknowingly impregnated your wife, or missed your son’s first birthday.

Sounds like fun, but is this really the way things are headed?  Recent studies have shown how text messaging has positively exploded in North America.  American kids average send and receive about 2800 text messages per month.  That’s 93 per day, or once every 10 minutes during waking hours.  Then, there’s the ease and efficiency of social networks, which enable entire groups of people to connect and share in real time.  It seems to me that the trend is still towards a more depersonalized, cheap and efficient means of connecting, rather than the data-plan sucking, wireless bill inflating, need to brush my hair first nature of video calling.

But perhaps Apple knows something that we don’t.  Maybe they think we’re retreating to a state where more personal, visual contact trumps speed and cost.  But I think they’re wrong.  Technology regularly makes the promise of bringing us closer together, yet people consistently demonstrate they’d rather use it to enforce distance and to be left alone.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patrick Gladney
Patrick Gladney is the leader and chief development officer for Social Currency, Northstar Research Partners social media measurement and monitoring business. A seasoned communications and business strategist, he believes in the transformational power and potential of the social web, including its ability to uncover unique insights that can positively impact marketing and product strategy.

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