JCP has apparently taken down links to this spot. Click here to view on iSpot.tv.
Recently, I saw the above ad for JCPenney — the launch of its big new holiday campaign. Just days later, I saw an article entitled JCPenny On An Express Train To Oblivion.
That headline pretty well summed up my reaction to the commercial. It also got me thinking about JCP’s current course in context of its history.
So, for you marketing enthusiasts, here’s my JCP story. It’s loaded with the things we love about this business: drama, crushed dreams, out-of-control egos and unintentional comedy. More ▸
Many cool things appeared at Apple’s most recent product unveiling: new iPads, Mac Pro, OS X Mavericks and more.
But then a number of things disappeared as well — like a long list of features in the iWork apps.
Depending on one’s willingness to drink the juice, reactions ranged from mild annoyance to utter disbelief. It was either an unavoidable step toward a better future or an unforgivable slap in the face.
But — if you squint your eyes a bit, you’ll actually see this development as one more reason to feel good about Apple.
Good grief Ken. Could you possibly be more of an apologist fanboy?
I knew you’d say that. Especially since I myself couldn’t resist grousing about the missing features in Pages just a couple of weeks ago. More ▸
Rush to judgment? Nah. Not here. A week after Apple’s latest product unveiling, I’ve had time to let it stew.
I’ve also had time to play with the various bits of new software. Here are some random reactions to all of it:
Disaster! Apple didn’t revolutionize anything. True, but let us note that historically, Apple’s astronomical success has come from three places: its ability to revolutionize, its ability to improve upon the revolutions, and its ability to out-market its competitors. At this event, we got two out of three.
As Tim Cook noted, this was a repeat from this summer’s WWDC. “It does such an incredible job talking about our values,” said he. While many love this video, I’m not a fan of it. To quote from Game of Thrones, “If you have to say you’re the king, you’re not a true king.” Apple has in the past communicated its values more clearly than any other company — simply by producing great products and great ads.
Damn, he’s good. Everyone at Apple is smart, but being likable is a very different matter. Of all the presenters, Craig wins in this measure hands-down. Did you notice that when Tim yielded the stage to Craig, the superlative count dropped precipitously? While Tim incessantly pounds words like “amazing” and “incredible,” Craig cuts way back. As they say in the speaking biz, he’s a natural. More ▸
Last week a company named QuarksLab made news with its revelation that iMessage isn’t as secure as Apple claims.
It claims that although iMessage features “end-to-end encryption,” it is technically feasible for Apple to view messages if it ever wanted to.
Of course, this story radiated across the internet as quickly as any Apple-damaging story would. To the point where NBC News decided it was legitimate news.
Shocker: this isn’t a story at all. More ▸
Ah, relief. After a number of commercials all dedicated to the iPhone 5c, we finally have one for the iPhone 5s.
Some sites, such as The Verge, suggest that this shift might reflect reports that the iPhone 5c is not selling well and the iPhone 5s is a runaway hit.
However, that doesn’t exactly pass the common sense test.
If one of your two products needs a jumpstart, you beef up the advertising for it — not shift to a product you can’t keep in stock. I suspect the reason is much simpler: Apple has a new line of iPhones and wants to sell a bunch of them.
But forget marketing theory for the moment. What do we think of the ad?
Well, if you’re of the mind that Apple has become formulaic with its ads, there’s nothing here to dissuade you. Even by its title, iPhone 5s’s Metal Mastered (above) is a perfect replica of iPhone 5c’s Plastic Perfected. More ▸
Bad enough that Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear smartwatch is being universally panned by reviewers.
Now the product’s launch commercial is getting the same treatment. Mostly because it’s a shameless copy of the very first iPhone commercial.
No argument here about the blatant nature of this rip-off. However, my problem is a more basic one:
The ad is crap.
Rule number one when you set out to copy someone else’s work: “Do it well.” In ignoring this rule, Samsung has set itself up for the double whammy — attacked for being unoriginal and creatively anemic. More ▸
Three days ago, The New York Times published a terrific article about the making and unveiling of iPhone.
It’s mostly drawn from the experience of Andy Grignon, a senior manager involved in creating the first iPhone, but also contains quotes from Tony Fadell and others.
Two important things about this article:
First, it’s written by a real writer. Fred Vogelstein weaves a most interesting tale, which is likely to draw you in whether you love Apple or loathe it. It’s a refreshing change from what you read on a hundred blogs every day. (Ouch. I think I just insulted myself.)
Most important, Vogelstein’s article addresses the true nature of innovation in the technology business, with its neverending challenges and complexities. Anyone who believes that Apple relies more on borrowing than innovating will have an enlightening experience. More ▸
What a juicy couple of weeks we’ve had in the iPhone world. New phones, new iOS, new ads and the inevitable flood of opinions.
What the heck, I’ll throw a few more into the mix.
iPhone 5c. I was withholding judgment until I could get my hands on one. I have to say, holding it in one’s hand is a very different experience than seeing a photo or video. Thanks to the new design, it almost feels thinner than the 5s even though it’s not. Very easy to love.
The theme lines. “Forward thinking” and “For the colorful.” I want to like them, I really do. They just feel a bit too calculated for my taste. I wholeheartedly agree that much of the 5s technology is forward thinking, especially the 64-bit part. But the line is more logical and strategic than it is seductive. I get that Apple is forward-thinking by reveling in its design and functionality. A great theme line would cap it off with a little magic. More ▸
Now that the iPhone 5s/5c event is behind us, we can get down to what’s really important — the whining and complaining about what Apple did wrong.
Okay, I’ll try to keep that to a minimum. I actually think the new iPhones are impressive. But every Apple event provides lots of new conversation fodder, and this one is no exception. So here are my thoughts on yesterday’s festivities. I’ll look forward to hearing yours.
The surprises. Oh right. There weren’t any. Though Apple did fill in a lot of the details, the broad strokes had leaked well in advance of the event: the product names, the fingerprint sensor and the colors. Many don’t realize how extremely important the element of surprise has been in building the modern Apple — and how it’s generated countless millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity around the world for every product launch. Apple has always had zero tolerance for anyone violating the secrecy rules inside the company or any of its vendors, but its size makes that difficult today. Too bad, because from a PR and buzz standpoint, the leaks cause real damage. The good news is: leaks or no leaks, the new iPhone features should appeal to a great many people. More ▸
Apparently, there isn’t much real news left in the world.
Why else would CNN present an ill-reasoned opinion piece as a front-page news story?
Oh, right. Because another “Apple is in serious trouble” story is always good for a few clicks.
With the scent of CNN’s recent Apple-doubting articles still in the air, this link was listed among the news headlines yesterday: Apple’s innovation problem is real.
Unfortunately, the only reality one can take from this article is that two writers can write a more vapid article than one. More ▸