The latest spot from Apple, titled ‘Misunderstood’, tells a story of a teenaged boy who surprises his family with a ‘creation’ on his iPhone. The film has garnered positive reviews overall, especially on Twitter and has already got 1.5mn views on YouTube.
Apple has had a good year as far as ads are concerned – ‘Pencil‘ for iPad, the demo video of iPad and it possibilities (‘Life on iPad‘) were well made and well received. What struck me after watching the ‘Holiday’ spot was that it represents the best of Apple marketing. The message was clearly about what could be done with an Apple product in a real way – no hyperbole, no technical specifications and no waffly ‘lifestyle’ advertising. The strength lies in its brutal focus and single minded story telling. The ad did not bother to mention either the specifications or features like Touch ID.
Sometimes I feel analysts and competition miss the point about the reasons for Apple’s success and try to outdo Apple by scoring brownie points on specifications. When you get into the specs game, it is a never ending battle for one-upmanship with perhaps no clear winner. A 5-mega pixel camera can be outdone by an 8-mega pixel camera of competition in no time. And once you enter the battle you simply can’t get out – you will have to constantly outdo your competition in specs.
I am not suggesting that specs are irrelevant or unimportant. Of course, they are. But an undue focus on specs alone is not a wise, long term view for brands. Secondly, I believe it is a myth that the average consumer obsesses about specifications. I believe geeks (especially those active on social media & comment forums) obsess about; no one else does. The average consumer may rationalise his choice of brand through technical specifications (‘I bought this brand because it has XYZ resolution) but what drives brand choice could be totally different. It could be anything from price to brand affinity. As someone said wisely, ‘the rational brain is not good at being rational; it is good at rationalising what the emotional brain has already decided’.
Apple appeals to the emotional brain through many touch points – product design, advertising, retail, customer care and so on. Technical specifications have little role to play in the creation of Apple magic and its pull among certain set of consumers. That could be something ‘misunderstood’ by many.