Australia's Apple store 'Wake Up' stunt: Let's run through the suspects

Australia's Apple store 'Wake Up' stunt: Let's run through the suspects

Summary: As a public service, here's a look at the potential suspects behind Australia's Wake Up bus marketing fiasco in front of an Apple store in Sydney.


The banter in Sydney shockingly still revolves around the Wake Up flash mob that emerged in front of an Apple store a week ago. Was it Samsung? How about RIM? Hell, let's throw HTC in as a suspect for good measure. Or maybe it's Nokia!

You've probably heard about the incident by now. A big black bus pulled up in front of the Apple store in Sydney. The bus signage screamed Wake Up. Then a bunch of people emerged from the bus to do the same thing. There were chants and everything.

This tale has captivated me my first day in Sydney. I get off a plane at 6 a.m. local time---or whatever time zone I'm on---and I'm just sucked into the Wake Up scandal. Perhaps it's jet lag. Perhaps I just need a few pints.

In any case, it's a bit fuzzy what Apple shoppers were supposed to wake up about, but the buzz-o-meter in Sydney is still rolling.

First, it looked like Samsung was behind the stunt. After all, Samsung has mocked Apple folks before for standing in long lines, worshipping their iPhone and failing to buy Galaxy phones.

The problem: Samsung denied any involvement.

Now there are reports that maybe Research in Motion was behind the Wake Up bus. This RIM detective work revolves around MacWorld Australia's analysis of DoubleClick code that may tie the beleaguered smartphone maker to the Wake Up campaign.

Umm ok.

By now, even the staid Financial Review has to chime in on Wake-Up-Gate. The Financial Review probably spent part of its day---much like we did at ZDNet Australia---trying to find concrete proof behind the Wake Up mystery. The best the Financial Review could come up with was a tale about how these stunts could backfire on brands.

In other words, your guess is as good as mine about this Wake Up fiasco that has gripped Australia's technology community (I exaggerate a bit---actually a lot of bit).

So as a public service, here's a rundown of the potential Wake Up suspects.

Samsung. Despite all the denials that it had nothing to do with the Wake Up bus, it's hard to believe them. Samsung has mocked Apple fans before. And yes, there's another Galaxy device coming shortly. Also note that Samsung Australia had nothing to do with the stunt. But there are many other units in Samsung. Samsung remains a likely suspect.

RIM. OK, the RIM thing is possible based on previous marketing disasters, but the smartphone maker is licking its wounds. Apple has crushed RIM and is even grabbing enterprise momentum. RIM simply has better things to do than park Wake Up busses in front of Apple stores. One better thing to do for RIM: Find strategic alternatives. I just don't buy the RIM concept.

Nokia. Sure Nokia's financials stink. But Nokia can still market. Nokia has put dancing Windows Phone tiles in front of you. Why wouldn't Nokia go ninja with a Wake Up bus. The marketing idea is just so cool that it looks like something cooked up in Finland and Redmond. Hmm. Maybe the Wake Up bus in Sydney was just a trial balloon before a global campaign. Nokia also has better things to do, but you never know.

ZTE, Huawei, whoever. Any new smartphone entrant could be a suspect and potential Wake Up bus driver. The chances are slim that these Apple rivals would go through the trouble of a Wake Up stunt. These competitors are much more likely to save money on the bus and undercut you on smartphone pricing.

HTC. HTC is talking up its One family. Maybe it wants Apple users to wake up and consider yet another Android device (as if there aren't enough of them already). HTC is a bit of a stretch for the Wake Up stunt. However, rumor has it that Dr. Dre was driving and counting his money from HTC's ill-fated bet on Beats headphones. OK, I made that Dr. Dre thing up, but you never know.

Topics: HTC, Apple, Mobility, Nokia, BlackBerry, Samsung, Security

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  • Probably Nokia

    If Samsung are saying no (and we assume they're not lying), we eliminate RIM because this is probably not something that they'd do (I find it unlikely that a company with a focus on Enterprise products wouldn't do this), eliminate ZTE\Huawei because they have very limited advertising, eliminate HTC because the carriers all have the One phones so unless they're sitting on something new then there's no point in them doing this, then it could well be Nokia doing something regarding the Lumias... perhaps they're launching the Lumia 900?
    • No, it was Microsoft that did it

      This is the sort of thing Microsoft does.

      Remember when Microsoft staged that mock iPhone funeral through the streets of Redmond. Microsoft employees were carrying phone coffins, and dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller. I think they were wishing that the iPhone would just die.
      • Agree.

        Microsoft is so inept at marketing, it looks like something they'd pull off. The problem with a stunt like this is that it looks like a kind of desperation move, and could easily backfire to Apple's benefit.
      • I could see this being

        A joint Microsoft/ Nokia campaign, as it's stupid enough for something Microsoft would pull.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • But not phones?

        How about wake-up to security?

        Mind you, we could then be dealing with Kaspersky, Dr. Web etc. as well...
  • I think I know why people need to wake up...

    In Australia, we pay MUCH higher prices for tech. Apple is a huge offender of charging the 'Aussie Tax' as we call it. Prices for games average $120 in Australia, last time I checked it was about half that in the US. Shocking how American companies rip us off and expect us to pay it. Maybe not much longer though, the Australian Government is starting to look into it. As an Australian I think it's long overdue. I am tired of paying 30-50 per cent higher for tech. And no, the rip off prices cannot be blamed on the GST or import prices only. Even with those things, tech should be much cheaper than it is in Australia.

    • Sheesh. The fact you want

      the government to do everything including wiping your bum is the reason things are so expensive there. If you're paying so much for tech, it's because your precious Aussie government is taxing you to death. So stop whining about evil corporations and fix your government.
      • Right, the kindly US multinationals

        Couldn't be taking advantage of foreign markets, like they regularly do to Canada
      • Not just Australia...

        Most parts of the world are considerably overpriced, when it comes to goods and services from America.

        Adobe Creative Suite 6 costs over $4,700 in Europe, as opposed to $2,599 in America (all prices from Amazon). Even taking into accoun that the European price includes sales tax, that is still one hefty markup.

        Apple aren't as bad, but they certainly don't seem to know how to use a currency exchange calculator, they seem to do the conversion in reverse every time - or 1:1, if we are exceedingly lucky.
    • I asked this question on another talkback but

      it's just as relevant here. How much do these companies pay in taxes and fees to do business in Australia as compared to the US, UK, and other places around the globe? IF they are about the same then yes there are issues but if they are significantly higher then why should the company just absorb the cost? This has nothing to do with Apple in particular but with all tech companies.

      @radleym [b]Right, the kindly US multinationals Couldn't be taking advantage of foreign markets, like they regularly do to Canada[/b]

      Who said they were "kindly"? They are in business for 2 reasons - to sell a product and to make money. And the question I asked about the tax rates and fees in Australia apply just as much to Canada. Are they more than in US markets?

      If there is a hefty markup then the respective governments need to look into it but if that markup is [i]NOT[/i] due to the taxes and fees a business has to pay in order to be in the Australian or Canadian market then the companies guilty need to lower their prices accordingly and reach out to those who have purchased their products and refund the cost difference.
      • supply and demand

        if you're willing to pay the price they will charge it if you're not they wont, also I know that the minimun wage is higher in Britain than here in the states so I was actually finantually better at home than I am now.
  • Perhaps it's just a big sociology experiment to see who outcasts who!

    Sort of 'Hitchhiker's Guide to IT Prejudices'.

    But what will the mice think?
    • Well, the dolphins thought...

      ...thanks for all the microfiche, so I guess the mice think "Thank goodness for wireless, my tail was getting really hot in that USB port" ;-)
  • What if Apple did...?

    Steve Jobs unveiled Macintoshi in 1984; 14 years later he introduced the first iMac on May 6, 1998....

    On May 6, 2012 (exactly 14 years after iMac), what will happen??? iTV? or New Mac products? Whatever... I miss you, Steve Jobs.
    • What will happen?

      I will get up, have two eggs, two pieces of toast, read the news paper, go to work and really not give a shit.
      • prune juice

        It'll help loads
  • There's an old saying in marketing...

    "Any press is good press and FREE press is best of all!!" Look at all the column space/free clicks this generates and the only company prominently named is APPLE!
  • It was obviously Apple!

    They are starting their marketing campaign for their new iClock line of alarm clocks. And of course, it will be revolutionary just like everything they do. They will even have an option of, get this: an alarm that starts low and gradually increases in volume! Sure, it's been done, but it's Apple, so it is something totally awesome and new! And for those with even deeper pockets, they will have the advanced model that not only wakes you but actually puts you to sleep at night by gently caressing your face with sheep's wool. Wow! The model that's basically the same but with a different LED color is rumored for the next version 6 months later or less but you can get that one too, you just have to. Start saving!
    • Pretty iFunny

      The typography on the bus is a variant on Helvetica. So, hmmm.

      At this point, I'll say this iClock theory has more credibility than the Apple television ones put forward by analysts.
    • No, it was MS

      I think you're thinking of the ZClock rumored to have a composite wake up noise using sound tracks from Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Debbie Does Dallas. Yes Folks! You wake up to the Blue Scream of Death ;-p