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MacBytes
Oct 6, 2005, 03:50 PM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: Apple executes textbook example of fantastic marketing with 'One more thing...' media event (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20051006165051)

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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skymaXimus
Oct 6, 2005, 04:30 PM
Can someone w/ a subscription post the full article?

x86isslow
Oct 6, 2005, 04:44 PM
Apple unleashes a brand new buzz
Company sets technology industry atwitter--and scores yet another PR victory--by sending out cryptic invitations to a mysterious event

By Geoff Dougherty
Tribune staff reporter
Published October 6, 2005

Apple will unveil a new iPod next week that plays videos.

Apple will not unveil a new iPod next week.

Apple will release a new generation of its Power Mac personal computers next week.

Apple will not release a new generation of Power Macs.

And so spiraled the speculation Wednesday after Apple Computer Co. sent cryptic invitations by e-mail to journalists and industry types for an Oct. 12 event at a theater near its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.

By the end of the day, only two things were certain: The Apple e-mail contained a picture of some black curtains, and the company, known for last-minute surprises during product roll-outs, had scored yet another public relations victory.

"It's a textbook example of fantastic marketing," said Florian Zettelmeyer, a marketing professor at the University of California at Berkeley business school. "They get people really excited about these products."

Every once in a while a company earns a reputation for being so groundbreakingly creative that it can make news over anything, or nothing. Only a handful of companies ever reach that status and achieve the level of buzz Apple now enjoys. For example, Microsoft, Google and Nike at different times have done so. But there is no bigger pot of gold for marketers.

Apple has done so in recent years by redefining the concept of cool in computing and altering how people listen to music, thanks to its market-dominating digital music player, the iPod.

"They create a tremendous groundswell of buzz just by launching their products," said Jon Harris, vice president of media development and communications at Sara Lee Corp.

The strategy works for Apple because the buzz is ultimately justified by the product, he said.

"The proof is in the pudding. You can have the best public relations and marketing, but if the product is not a good product, it's going to go nowhere," Harris said.

An Apple spokeswoman did not return a call seeking information about the company's strategy.

Meanwhile, other computer companies are hard-pressed to get any coverage for their product releases. "Dell gets press when they bring out an earnings statement, but not when they bring out a new product," Zettelmeyer said.

It's unclear where the video iPod speculation started. Among those participating was The Associated Press, which issued a report Wednesday headlined "All signs indicate video iPod coming," and quoted a report from American Technology Research.

"From our checks with industry and channel sources, we believe Apple will release a first-generation video-capable iPod," the report said.

Meanwhile, ThinkSecret.com, a Web site devoted to uncovering inside information about Apple, was knocking down the video iPod story.

"The event, Think Secret has learned, will not usher in the much rumored video iPod but rather new PowerBook and Power Mac systems," the Web site said. Apple has sued ThinkSecret, accusing it of divulging company secrets.

Others were more than happy to admit they have no idea what Apple is planning.

"I've learned not to speculate with Apple," said Van Baker, an analyst who follows the company at Gartner Group. He noted that many company observers were shocked last month when Apple unveiled the iPod Nano, a wafer-thin version of its portable music player.

x86isslow
Oct 6, 2005, 04:44 PM
Prior to the product release, many had expected the showstopper would be a mobile phone packaged with the company's iTunes digital music software. Apple did announce the phone, Motorola Inc.'s Rokr, but followed it with a curveball--the Nano.

Baker said the market may be ripe for a video player that integrates the process of downloading music videos, TV shows and other content and playing them on a portable machine. Apple, with the iPod and iTunes, was able to do much the same thing for music, an area that previously was rife with competing file formats and problematic downloads.

An Apple video player would have to have a high-resolution 5-inch screen and cost less than $500, Baker said. "If they bring all that to market, they stand to be successful," he said.

But Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD Group, said an Apple video player would face an uncertain market. "There are questions about the amount of free time people have during the day to watch portable video," he said. "It's not the sort of thing you can easily use while you're walking."

Further, there's not a lot of movies and television shows readily available for download. By contrast, when Apple introduced the iPod, the Internet was already awash with freely available digital music files.

But several production companies have begun churning out movies that are formatted for mobile phones and their 2 1/2-inch screens. They use close-ups and limited action to keep screen blur to a minimum.

And Rubin said a video iPod could remedy Apple's currently slow sales for its top-of-the-line music players.

But he declined to predict what kind of product the company would announce next week.

"It really could be anything," he said.

WildCowboy
Oct 6, 2005, 05:15 PM
Has this guy even seen the invitation? The curtains are red, not black.

Belly-laughs
Oct 6, 2005, 05:47 PM
ůmaybe the black invitation grants him a backstage visit? Or a free black turtle neck at the door?

Anyway, he very much participates in his own claim; brilliant Apple marketing makes for free press PR.

nagromme
Oct 6, 2005, 05:50 PM
"Slow sales" at the top of the line?

Compared to what? Other companies who can't TOUCH those slow sales, or to the past when there wasn't much choice BUT the top of the line? Now there are more options, and the high-end is bound to sell less than the low-end.

solvs
Oct 6, 2005, 05:51 PM
This is fantastic marketing. I love Apple's flare for the dramatic. You're all going to be disappointed now.

Dr. Dastardly
Oct 6, 2005, 07:36 PM
Has this guy even seen the invitation? The curtains are red, not black.
They are if his friend xeroxed one for him. :p

24C
Oct 7, 2005, 02:38 AM
They are if his friend xeroxed one for him. :p
LOL, but it could have been a fax.
I have no idea what's coming and all this speculation is definitely working for me and generating interest elsewhere. I hope it is a new product, and so the 'marketing' is really working, but sadly I just have to wait.

If nothing great comes of this exercise, it'll be like the boy crying wolf.

crenz
Oct 7, 2005, 06:38 AM
This is fantastic marketing. I love Apple's flare for the dramatic. You're all going to be disappointed now.

Hopefully it'll be their flair involved next week, not flares...

Gasu E.
Oct 7, 2005, 12:47 PM
"The proof is in the pudding. You can have the best public relations and marketing, but if the product is not a good product, it's going to go nowhere," Harris said.



This may be off-topic. But I've eaten a lot of pudding in my day, and I've yet to find "the proof" in any of it.

Peace
Oct 7, 2005, 12:51 PM
This may be off-topic. But I've eaten a lot of pudding in my day, and I've yet to find "the proof" in any of it.

Napolean said " The proof of the pudding is in the taste"

But in any case if Apple doesn't deliver something BIG it's marketing budget may go way up.

Jay42
Oct 7, 2005, 01:02 PM
Sure this whole strategy of creating buzz can be really effective, but only if they have something exciting to back it up. If this announcement's a dud, the whole buzz thing backfires. And c'mon, its not like Steve doesn't know the VidPod rumors will be flying as soon as Apple mentions anything.

Personally I think the "one more thing" line refers to one more PPC mac line before the switch. I can definitely see Steve saying something like "Yeah we're moving to intel and its gonna be great...but there is one more thing..."

madmaxmedia
Oct 7, 2005, 01:11 PM
Sure this whole strategy of creating buzz can be really effective, but only if they have something exciting to back it up. If this announcement's a dud, the whole buzz thing backfires. And c'mon, its not like Steve doesn't know the VidPod rumors will be flying as soon as Apple mentions anything.

And no one knows this more than Apple. They are absolute masters of marketing, and know how to line up both the sizzle and the steak. The nano launch was much more than Steve pulling the nano out of his pocket, there was a major media launch that went along with it. Almost all the regular iPod ads were replaced with nano ads practically overnight. It looks effortless, but that's because Apple does it so well.

So regardless of what is introduced Wednesday (I think it will be Mac updates and video-enabled iPod), Apple has something big up their sleeves. They would never have put the words "One More Thing" if they didn't.

Putting those magic words is basically announcing to the world- "This thing is going to be so cool, even the massive hype we're creating won't overshadow it."

sjk
Oct 7, 2005, 06:02 PM
They are if his friend xeroxed one for him. :pMore likely he faxed it. :)