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

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.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

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.

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