Apple And Our Culture, Ctd

More

Full_1295462187jobs-portrait-white

A reader writes:

You got it right; any attempt to frame Apple's products in terms of utility and economic value added misses the point. In that sense there is also similarity to the faith you reference in your original post. I work at an advertising agency. As you probably know, there is a great deal of copy-catting in advertising and marketing. But here's the thing: when we present case studies of great marketing, we don't use Apple anymore because it is viewed as an outlier of such magnitude that many of us in the industry regard it as inimitable.

Apple really does great marketing. But our clients feel like there is nothing to learn from Apple because if you could deliver - with nearly every single product - an amazing user experience, genuine technical innovations, uncompromisingly stylish packaging AND be backed by a company who is unafraid to pursue a singular vision vs. what the focus groups say, then it'd be EASY to do great marketing because all you'd have to do is a great product demo. Which, by the way, is what most Apple product ads are.

As a marketer, I know that people will evaluate the facts about products but decide to buy them because of what they feel. Apple products nurture a crazy kind of hope in people. It's the hope of modernity: that new ideas can make us better. Part of Apple's genius is to deliver those new ideas in a way that celebrates humanity and the things that make us human (like the jolt of pleasure you get when two songs that you would never have put together on a mix tape are serendipitously juxtaposed on your iPod's shuffle mode to stunning effect. That's only possible because Apple realized that it'd be great to be able to take your entire music collection with you.)

Then there is this: Apple reaches for greatness without apology. Market share and profitability are important only as outcomes. They are not its purpose, which is to achieve the "insanely great." It is as if they are on an ongoing Grail quest. (As Professor Henry Jones said to Indiana: "The search for the Grail is the search for the Divine in all of us.")

Yeah, it's just some metal, plastic and silicon. And, yes, Apple makes a lot of money. But those two observations miss completely the point of Apple. It's about inspiration, hope and an embrace of the future and humanity's place within it.

(Image via GOOD Design: "A portrait by Greek designer Charis Tevis for the Italian magazine Panorama that uses hundreds of Apple products created under Jobs's tenure to make up his likeness." More versions and close-ups here.)

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

In a series of candid video interviews, women talk about self-image, self-judgment, and what it means to love their bodies


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down