Nov 10

A home page is worth a thousand words

This post is not about the Beatles coming to iTunes. And it will not contain a single Beatles title repurposed as clever copy.

This is really just about the current Apple home page, which is now all Beatles. And I mean all Beatles. No MacBook Airs, no holiday iPods, no news. Just Beatles.

For anyone looking for evidence that Apple doesn’t work like other companies, consider this Exhibit A.

The home page is the most valuable real estate a company owns (at least marketing-wise). Now, for a single cause, Apple removes all hardware selling messages as the busiest buying season descends upon us.

Oh okay, Mr. Cynical. You do have a point that this Beatles tribute isn’t exactly altruistic. It’s there because Apple intends to make a ton of money. And probably because they had to promise this very thing as part of the Beatles deal.

But they are doing this to the exclusion of everything else they make. And this isn’t the first time Apple has dedicated its home page to a message bigger than its products. In fact, previously they’ve done this from the heart, completely sacrificing business as usual.

There were memorial home pages for board member Jerome York (earlier this year) and George Harrison (2001). Rosa Parks (2005) and Gregory Hines (2003) got the main home page image, though product messages remained at the bottom.

It boils down to that fact that Apple tends to act more like a person than a company. Wonder why. From a brand standpoint, this is a very good thing. One of the biggest reasons why Apple connects with its customers emotionally is that it has no problem expressing its values — sometimes in dramatic ways.

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  • Chris

    Sounds convincing if you don’t count Google or Bing as a companies.

  • Ken,

    I was looking forward to this blog post, but let down in regards to what you chose to focus on! I’m sure you must have seen the overwhelming response from blog land regarding the massive disappointment surrounding the announcement.

    Although I know I was not the target demographic for this (early 20’s), I was very disappointed. How can you make a statement like “a day you will never forget”, a statement I feel is on par with statements like “one more thing”, to only announce what they did. If you are a Beatles fan, I’m sure you already had the discography in your itunes library. Surely a very very small % of people waited this long for the band to hit itunes.

    I feel like that type of statement should have been reserved for announcements like itunes in the cloud, or a shift in how you use the itunes store. It should have been reserved for innovations to itunes, innovations to the media landscape and how it could change how the ways we consume media.

    How did you feel about the way they used that line? I know I was very let down, and that feeling does not happen often with Apple!

  • Paul


    Lighten up. I think Apple was just having a little fun at the tech media’s expense—gently tweaking all the bloggers who can’t help themselves trying to guess what Apple is doing next and who are inevitably let down by whatever it does.

  • @paul:

    Agreed that it does feel negative, but I know I am not alone with this sentiment. I think this announcement had much more backlash then usual.

  • Great marketing is about getting people talking and standing for something important. Apple did both with this announcement. My 15 year old son said something profound when the iPad was announced: “This must be what it was like when the Beatles released a new record.” Both brands exude excellence and excitement. Seeing them together is indeed historic, in my book.

  • ken segall

    I figured there were enough people blogging about the good and the bad of the Apple/Beatles deal. I’ve been surprised that so many don’t seem to care a whole lot about it. More interesting to me was the huge push that’s been put behind this, and the commandeering of the entire Apple home page that’s part of it. I love that Apple dares to do such unusual things. As far as using the “day you’ll never forget” line … I agree, that’s pushing things. Let’s meet back here in ten years and see who remembers it :)

  • Callmeishmael

    Handing over real estate as valuable as your home page to The Beatles doesn’t seem radical, it seems like a no-brainer. When you have the greatest cultural phenomenon of the last 50 years willing to engage in what amounts to a celebrity endorsement, you’d be idiots not to milk it for everything it’s worth. As others have mentioned, the fact that Beatles albums are now available on iTunes is a yawner, a zit on the ass of history. From any other brand, this campaign would seem like shameless borrowed interest. But such is the power of the brand these days that Apple as cultural phenomenon and The Beatles as cultural phenomenon are, if not equal, at least travel in the same orbit.