Apple is running a striking new campaign; it is hard to open a newspaper without seeing the two-page spreads.
The ads are dramatic, highlighting Apple’s commitment to design. Here is one:
This is it.
This is what matters.
The experience of a product.
How it makes someone feel.
When you start by imagining
What that might be like,
You step back.
Who will this help?
Will it make life better?
Does this deserve to exist?
If you are busy making everything,
How can you perfect anything?
We don’t believe in coincidence.
Or dumb luck.
There are a thousand “no’s”
For every “yes.”
We spend a lot of time
On a few great things.
Until every idea we touch
Enhances each life it touches.
We’re engineers and artists.
Craftsmen and inventors.
We sign our work.
You may rarely look at it.
But you’ll always feel it.
This is our signature.
And it means everything.
Designed by Apple in California.
There is a lot to like about this campaign. It is visually distinctive; the ads grab your attention. The branding is fairly strong, despite the fact that there is no Apple logo. The focus is on the brand, not product features.
My concern: the ads are all about Apple. There are no real customer benefits. The campaign isn’t about customers at all; the campaign is about Apple.
The tag line, “Designed by Apple in California,” doesn’t add much value to customers. Who cares? I suppose the line differentiates Apple versus Samsung, though I suspect people don’t really care where a device was designed or manufactured.
This campaign feels a lot like Apple’s Think Different campaign: the lack of clear benefits and product features.
The big difference, however, is that the Think Different campaign focused on inspirational, creative people. The new Designed by Apple campaign is about Apple.
I get nervous anytime a company focuses on itself.
* * *
This week I am off to Michigan for some time at the lake with the family. After a busy spring I am ready for a few days off.
The next session of Kellogg on Branding executive education program is September 29 to October 4. The program helps participants build and manage strong brands. It is particularly useful if you are new to the world of branding or looking for a refresher on best practices.
You can learn more about the program and sign up here: https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/execed/Programs/BRAND.aspx