Apple Inc. is the world’s second most valuable company, recently passing PetroChina and trailing only ExxonMobil. Much of Apple’s growth in the last 10 years has come not from desktop computer sales but from consumer electronics such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Apple has been able to convince millions of folks to trade up and pay more. There is still, however, huge room for growth.
Apple long stood for products that were user-friendly. Apple was a club and like most clubs, it was exclusive. The problem is that “user-friendly” is now the cost of entry for electronics. Today, Apple is focused on product innovation and expansion of their customer base for existing products. To take the next leap, Apple will have to move from the original club members—tech-savvy urbanites—to other consumer targets: Soccer Moms, Plumber Dads, Investment Banker Uncles, Awkward Aunts, Cuddly Kids and Boring Brothers… Everyone.
Apple needs to target EVERYONE. The business demands it. Apple can no longer be a club; they need to be a mass consumer brand and they are well on their way. Apple products will no longer make you cool. They will however solve your “what should I get Mom for Mother’s Day” dilemma this year.
For proof, look no further than their ads. Apple has always pushed concept and design boundaries in their advertising. They have lived by “Think Different,” and like many successful brands, are selling an idea, a transformation and lifestyle. Starting with the 1984 TV ad and onto the flower arrangements of colorful iMacs, Apple always surprises, reinvents and delights. Until now.
Apple has officially sold out. They’ve decided to offend no one and push no boundaries. Think Different? How about don’t think at all. Look at an iPad ad and Apple won’t show you attitude; they will show you how to point to a touchscreen with your finger in case you didn’t know how touchscreens worked. Lie on the couch and relax, no thought required. Apple’s latest ads have no point of view. No promise of transformation, club or lifestyle. The iPad ads could have come from anyone—Barnes & Noble, Jennifer Convertibles, Dockers… anyone.
Scroll down memory lane and view some of Apple’s print, online bus shelter and billboard ads throughout the years in “approximate reverse chronological order.” Take a closer look at the iPad ads and then enjoy the trip back in time. Reminisce about what Apple used to be.