Macs are cool - too cool for you?

Summary:New ad campaign, same old corporate credibility problems?

New ad campaign, same old corporate credibility problems?

Apple's latest marketing push is all about luring PC users. The company is even getting 'real life' converts to say why they made the switch. If you haven't seen any ads yet you surely will. The strategy isn't surprising. Apple has, at best, about five per cent of the global personal computer market. Founder and CEO Steve Jobs tends to put a positive spin on this. (Grab eight per cent of the market? Wow - that's a 60 per cent increase in sales.) But PCs running Windows and using Intel (or Intel clone) processors are the clear and sensible target. Unfortunately, the latest campaign plays to some predictable stereotypes. The Mac evangelists we'll get to know in the ads tend to be not just creative types but trendy creative types. How many potential users relate to a DJ or a freelance illustrator/writer? The days of seeing scary Henry Rollins go on about his Apple laptop spring to mind. And Apple's market share back then was nothing to be proud about. In an interview in today's FT, Steve Jobs and feted iMac designer Jonathan Ive talk about Apple products, but stress the substance of them over their form. Ive even says: "We are not interested in design statements." This is good news. But do the ads come across the same way? The key point made by both the top brass and the 'converts' in the adverts is ease-of-use, which fits with Ive's claim. But presenting a roll call of creative types is a mistake - and arguably lacking in ambition at a time when Apple products are more interoperable than ever before. At least one person in the Apple campaign is a Windows LAN administrator, someone who many readers will relate to. But we need more ordinary people, more - well - typical PC users. We'll leave aside the virtues of PC versus Mac environments for now. For all the positives, we should say we've come across a few IT bosses, one at a media conglomerate, who are less than complimentary about Apple, even if the loyalists would shout otherwise. We like products such as the new iMac, the iPod and OS X. They're reliable, yes, easy to use, and pretty cool - but is Apple too cool to ever grow above 10 per cent of the market again?

Topics: Hardware

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