Does Apple need a Marketing department?

On the bus on the way to work I noticed that Apple had six consecutive bus shelter ads in two main locations of the Sydney CBD; Wynyard and QVB. All the same ad, facing the same way into the main traffic flow. It was an ad for the iPad2, which as most of us know was released in Australia on Friday 25th March at 5pm. As per usual, the hype was ridiculous and the typical lines to match. My local store had people lining up the morning of the release with their first generation iPads – eagerly awaiting the minor upgrades that Apple had implemented.

The amount of hype and media attention that Apple receives when a product release is imminent is, well…crazy! While I may say it’s just a ‘piece of technology’, I’m sure their cult-like followers would disagree that it is much, much, more. It’s slightly more – than their previous version. There is no doubt that the board of directors, including Steve Jobs, are a smart bunch of people (and when I say no doubt, I mean clearly they know what they’re doing with a company that has no debt and a bank balance of $60 billion and growing). They basically literally have a brand where there is enough media attention and consumer knowledge that they could release a product with no advertising and it would ‘sell out’ as past products have, with the same dedicated people lining up to own a new slice of Apple’s latest product.

So why does Apple spend millions in advertising? Why do they need to spend money on seemingly “unnecessary” print and TVCs ads that alert people to a product they already know about and (for a while) can’t seem to find a store that has stock init? One could assume that because of Apple’s diverse age of consumers (pre-teens to the elderly) that it would be hard to know someone that wouldn’t know something about Apple’s latest or upcoming product. It certainly does reinforce their brand and potentially give people that final ‘push’ or conviction they need to convince themselves that Apple is the brand they should buy.

It comes at a time where the iPad 2 is of a short supply across a lot (if not all) stores. I recently enquired at 5 different retail stores in the one shopping centre and no one had a single iPad2 in any capacity! Does Apple still advertise to demonstrate what we are missing out on by not having an iPad? Of course it may also just be a clever method to keep up demand – which is working.

We can assume that Apple will most likely release a third generation iPad next year with, what one can guess will be similar upgrades to what their successful iPhone would have. My guess is that it will have retina display, better battery life (in Apple’s terms anyway), higher resolution camera and what ever else Apple have been developing. Yet, people still save up, spend time and buy each model! I bet if Apple released a product, say the iPad 3, without telling people what the difference was, there would be numerous people who would just go out an buy it! That’s just the culture that Apple has. Some people ‘need’ to have the latest device from Apple and be seen with it for  status in a society that says they are keeping up to date with the latest and greatest innovation. Of course some just enjoy the devices!

This was emphasised in an episode of Futurama that coincidentally came on the same day I saw those ads and thought about writing this. Click on the link below to listen  – it’s hilarious!

http://bit.ly/jAiKoO

But of course I highly doubt would Apple have the amazing brand strength and status it did if it wasn’t for their marketing team – which is recognised as one of the best in the world. Are the products themselves enough to make a swarm of people save up and line up to get their hands on one and be ‘the cool kid’? ‘Yes’, now…but if it wasn’t for the marketing team to get the brand to the ‘cult following’  status it has, I would say ‘no’. It would probably be lost in a sea of competitors with their computers, phones and tablets.

Has the marketing team done their job? Absolutely.

All Apple needs to work on now is their prices reflecting the US dollar :)

Your thoughts…

Sitting down is NOT killing you.

Your lifestyle is.

A recent post on Mashable (http://on.mash.to/mwXf7G) entitiled “Just How Dangerous Is Sitting All Day?” featured infographics from Medical Billing and Coding…

Click to view larger image.
Sitting Down Infographic

Source: medicalbillingandcoding.org

While the first slide is rather attention grabbing and harsh: “Sitting is killing you” the entire infographic is biased. It blames the increase in desk work (sitting down) as the main cause of obesity and increased risk of death. There are numerous contributors that lead to a person being overweight or obese, such as, diet, lifestyle, amount of exercise and genetics – not just the amount we spend sitting down each day.

The infographic says “Americans are obese. Between 1800 and 2000: exercise rate stayed the same, sitting time increased 8% and obesity doubled”, and they are basing their argument on that? Sitting does not make us fat! While sitting doesn’t burn as much energy and calories as standing or physical labouring jobs, it is not the cause of obesity.

We are working more than ever before. The average working day is getting longer and longer for most people, which can lead to spending longer times at your desk and an increase in tiredness which can result in less energy for exercise and to eat properly. Two major factors that increase weight gain: poor diet and lack of exercise. There are also psychological effects of spending more time at your desk. In my office I am the only one that eats in the kitchen at the large table – everyone else eats at their desk due to their workload or because they are comfortable there. Once you get into a habit of doing something your brain can automatically trigger thoughts and desires. For example, I was told never to eat on the lounge while I was TV because without realising it I will want to eat whenever I do that. Same thing goes for eating at your desk. The more you eat your lunch there the more likely you are to keep eating throughout the day, and not necessarily the right foods.

There was also no McDonalds and big fast food chains back in the 1800’s. The first fast food restaurant (White Castle) opened in the United States in 1916 which sparked more chains such as McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut etc to open globally.

“In the United States alone, consumers spent about $110 billion on fast food in 2000 (which increased from $6 billion in 1970).” – Schlosser, Eric (2001). Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Houghton Mifflin Books. ISBN 0395977894.

Perhaps that is an influence to obesity? The copious amounts of junk/fast food restaurants that are popping up and the amount we are consuming, which in itself can lead to life threatning illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, breathing difficulties and increase chances of stroke and heart attack. Let’s not forget that the more people eat and the fatter they become the less exercise they do due to lack of motivation and hope. In the fact that the article says “Obese people sit for 2.5 hours per day longer than skinnier people” That’s because everything that has led up to where they are now makes it harder for them to stand up vs. thinner people.

While the article makes some good points that we should get up and move it only looks at one small side of the picture. It should really say that a balanced diet and increase in physical activity is key to reducing risks that being lazy will induce. Reducing the amount of time sitting down each day is a good place to start…

Your thoughts…

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