iPhone and the future of advertising

Photo of iPhoneSell your stock in ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, say goodbye to the cable companies, and look at Apple, Cingular, Yahoo and Google. Kiss phone books goodbye as well. Credit cards may go away too. The iPhone is coming this June, and it will change the world.
Already, Research in Motion (the Blackberry people), Palm, Motorola and other “Smart Phone” makers stock dropped, and deservedly so. My Treo 700 is a pain in the butt to use and it’s one of the “better smart phones.”
Steve Jobs has 30 years experience in changing the way people and computers interact and with yesterday’s introduction of the iPhone, he showed why Apple is the master of the GUI (Graphical User Interface). First came the mouse, then the click wheel and now- the scrolling gesture and MultiTouch interface (most touch screens can only read one point at a time). All, in all, it’s brilliant. A phone, iPod and Internet device- but, watch out, it may be way more than that.
When the video iPod was introduced, it wasn’t that the iPod could play video that was the groundbreaking news- it was that Apple was selling “free” TV programs for $1.99. The beginning of a la carte programming delivered over IP. Now, with the iPhone and the new Apple TV set top box, we have the “Remote” that pulls everything together, including a billing system (Cingular) and a whole new way for advertisers to reach highly targeted consumers. Just think, your cell phone bill could be subsidized for you agreeing to watch highly targeted content- based on several different criteria to begin with:

  • Your geographic location- cell phones are mini GPS devices, and as Jobs demonstrated the iPhone integration with Google maps/Google local, he showed us the beginning of a brand new way to access advertising, custom crafted to your longitude and latitude.
  • Your buying habits and payment processing might be handled through Google wallet, with you keeping your running account balance on your phone. Phones have been used in Japan to pay vending machines for years, the iPhone brings whole new levels of integration to your pocket.
  • The end of “Sales” for bricks and mortar stores- if your price doesn’t match what comes up in Froogle, you won’t make the sale. The “true browser” with easy input, coupled with a camera that can probably read product bar codes will put so much power in the consumers hand that all retailers will be able to compete on is better service or immediate delivery. Will that be worth paying a premium? Take a look at what the iTunes store has done to the music industry if you need hints.
  • With its superior interface and WiFi/phone system Internet access, the iPhone will allow users to access company websites on it’s small screen. Jobs didn’t show any Flash sites in the demo, but, by partnering with Yahoo and Google- and showcasing the New York Times- he did hint at the importance of CSS coded HTML which scales, and reformats to different screens easier than Flash. If you have a website that is in Flash come June, you will be missing many of the opportunities of true Mobile connectivity.
  • Last but not least, with a real browser- and an 8 gig drive, consumers will be able to carry your ads, your product literature- right to the point of sale- or discuss your products or service over lunch with friends- complete with sound, motion and data. No more need for brochures- even PDF’s online that don’t easily fit the new screen won’t be as handy a well-designed web interface. Think of having infomercials on your site that entertain and allow 2-way feedback- as well as click to buy options- all accessible from anywhere- anytime, in your customer’s pocket.

There is much more to this iPhone than an iPod, Phone, Internet connectivity- there is the first step of the true 1 to 1 revolution.
Apple stock went up 8 points yesterday. Just wait until June and the full power of this new phone is realized- by developers and marketers.
If the phone works as promised, and the reviews are good, Apple’s stock will climb like Googles- and the web will be a whole new place for marketers to (re) learn.

Unique branding position from The Next Wave gets results

Zen Windows logoWhen we do our job really well- our clients get PR for free.
Dan Wolt was another window salesman, who knew the high-pressure business inside and out. He’d been at the top of a huge window mill- with 150 people setting appointments in a pressure cooker- and then he walked away and went solo.

But how to compete? How does a sole practitioner make enough noise to get noticed above the din of one of the most cut-throat industries known to man?

Our solution was “Zen Windows” a brand that was the antithesis of the standard positioning. His new slogan “Relax, window quotes in five minutes” opened a new conversation with customers who had already experienced the grueling three hour sessions of the competition.

So successful is his strategy, that About.com wrote about it. (unfortunately- the link died)

Replacement Windows - Profile of Zen Windows - Replacement Window Company
Zen Windows - Doing Replacement Windows Differently

If you think your business can’t compete with the Goliaths of your industry- consider what is accepted practice- and think about how you can differentiate yourself. BMW motorcycle dealers are different because they let customers ride demo bikes. Apple built it’s own network of Apple stores- that are as much an experience as a retail environment. Target asked it’s vendors to help them differentiate the product offering with high design products at a reasonable price. What makes your business different?

Can an ad agency like The Next Wave help? Ask Dan Wolt for a reference.

The Next Wave quoted in Restaurant Business Magazine – How to build buzz

Working with small clients, doing great work is what got Fallon, McElligot Rice started in Minneapolis when most big clients thought they had to work with a NYC, Chicago or LA agency. We view work with independent local restaurants as part of keeping our city unique, interesting and fun. It’s also nice when a national publication includes examples of our work as part of a how to differentiate your small business to compete with the big chains.

Dayton’s Original Pizza Factory will never sell more pizza than Domino’s, Papa Johns, Donato’s or California Pizza Kitchen, but, they will have a loyal following and leave every customer smiling.

Restaurant Business Magazine Online - How to build buzz

New Rule #3 Surprise people (and they may surprise you)

Nothing gets customers buzzing like a surprise. Sometimes it’s a new product, or even a stunt.
“Target does great word-of-mouth stunts,” says Andy Sernovitz, CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. “They didn’t have a store in Manhattan, but they brought a truck of $99 window-unit air conditioners, parked them in Union Square and sold them off the back of the truck.
“The Drury Inn hotel chain gives you an hour of free long distance for every guest every day. It costs them nothing, but the first thing you do when you pick up the phone is to say, ‘Can you believe there’s a hotel with free long distance?’”
Even your humblest item can offer a surprise, says David Esrati, chief creative officer of ad agency The Next Wave in Dayton, Ohio. Like the pizza box he designed for Dayton’s Original Pizza Factory. The front of the box reads, “Smile! Your pizza’s here,” while the bottom says, “If you can read this, it’s time to reorder.” Says Esrati, “Everything you do in a restaurant is an advertisement.”
Unique service also gets people talking, says McConnell. At Cyrus, a fine-dining establishment in Sonoma, California, the hostess alerted the kitchen to a new guest’s arrival. Once seated, a cart came up with champagne and caviar. “It’s an experience I’ve talked about hundreds of times,” McConnell says.
Another gossip-starter is to offer dishes that aren’t on the menu but can be requested by people in the know. California’s In-N-Out Burger has a cult following for its “secret menu,” with burgers like the Animal Style, Protein Style, Flying Dutchman and 4×4. Jamba Juice has a similar reputation for smoothies, with unofficial concoctions like White Gummi Bear, Strawberry Shortcake and Peanut Butter and Jelly.

It’s nice to be quoted in the same article as Laura Ries, Jay Levinson and a mention of Crispin Porter Bogusky’s “Subservient Chicken” site- but what was more important is the results Pizza Factory has enjoyed over the years.

We’ve introduced blogs as a tool for our other restaurant clients, Eclipse and Coco’s Bistro, and although they haven’t fully taken advantage of them yet, once again, The Next Wave is on the forefront of Marketing Innovation.

When advertising, brand voice and good design all come together

As always- when the results are good, no one ever says “the ads did it”- but when the results are bad- it’s always the advertising that’s to blame.

When I first saw the “Get a mac” campaign- with the two guys chatting it up in front of a simple white screen- with “Hello, I’m a Mac” and “I’m a PC” I thought that Chiat/Day had hit a home run for Apple. Not only had they gone to a direct product comparison, they had captured the “user friendliness” of the Mac perfectly.

It was also an affordable campaign- with the potential for having legs. With a rumored 27 different executions already in the can- it stays fresh- and on target.

If there was any doubt that this campaign is resonating, Apple just released it’s latest quarterly results- and the news is great.

Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results

CUPERTINO, California—October 11, 2005—Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2005 fourth quarter ended September 24, 2005, reporting the highest revenue and earnings in the Company’s history. Apple posted revenue of $3.68 billion and a net quarterly profit of $430 million, or $.50 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $2.35 billion and a net profit of $106 million, or $.13 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 28.1 percent, up from 27.0 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 40 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Not to say all honors belong to Chiat/Day- Apple completed their move to Intel processors- making their computers capable of running Windows should you absolutely have to (and unfortunately- due to some bad web coding- there are still some sites that only work for a PC running Internet Explorer). Apple also introduced the new MacBook to replace the iBook giving them one of the sexiest laptops on the market, albeit at a higher price than most entry PC laptops- but here’s the difference- you really do get what you pay for.

A Next Wave teammate who likes to hack things bought a Dell laptop for $800. It had more ram, more HD and a DVDr drive and a 15″ widescreen- feature wise, it looks like a great deal compared to a similar Mac laptop. But, here’s the catch- it’s all plastic- designed like a kids Lego version of a laptop- instead of the sleek, sexy, smooth lines of the Apple product. A photo of a Citroen 2CVWe’re comparing a Citroen 2cv to a Lotus Elise. If you need a hint- the 2CV is on the left in red- and the Elise is in blue on the right. Photo of a Lotus Elise

Apple is delivering a clearly differentiated product- competing on factors other than price, with a consistent brand voice, in a highly competitive market. Will they be number 1? No. Do they have to be? If being number one means you are delivering the most product- at the expense of profits, sustainability will be short lived.

Apple is working on expanding their brand to be central to the “digital lifestyle”- with the iPod being given more credit by stock analysts than it is due. The idea of making life easier for Apple users which is reinforced in every Get a Mac ad- is part of the strategy for Apple’s move into other areas like the delivery of digital content- with the iTunes store- and the much rumored iPhone.

Could these ads sell the new products- definitely. That’s the mark of great ads that bring brand voice, design and company strategy together for results.

Good design = Good advertising

Dieter Rams was a designer for Braun. Braun made stuff cool before Apple was in existence. Take a look at Apple’s products- and then read this list- and all of a sudden, you understand why the brand is iconic, the positioning is differentiated and that when hardware becomes irrelevant, Apple will still be a force to be reckoned with (at least as long as they can keep a Steve Jobs like visionary in charge).
Dieter Rams / Design Museum Collection : Industrial Designer (1932-) - Design/Designer Information
Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design helps us to understand a product.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is durable.
Good design is consequent to the last detail.
Good design is concerned with the environment.
Good design is as little design as possible.
Back to purity, back to simplicity.

Think more about outdoor advertising

If you are involved in advertising, more than ever, there are two mediums that you shouldn’t ignore- the web and outdoor.

We’re here trying to educate clients (and other ad agencies) about not making “brochure-ware” websites and “Chest-beater” sites.

Definition of a chest-beater website:

a ego-centric site all about the site owner, and how great they are, without any real, useful information, typically built in Flash, so it’s guaranteed not to index or be W3C compliant (accessible to blind people).

Example copy: We’re the best advertising agency in the world- and that’s why you should hire us. We’ve won every major ad award, and throw amazing parties at Cannes. We work with all “A” level directors, and allow our creative departments to spend all your budget on very expensive TV spots, while ignoring your website, operational opportunities for marketing and anything we can’t win an award for.

Outdoor advertising on the other hand, is often the budgetary afterthought. After all, agencies don’t make as much money on cost effective media- due to the stupid idea of paying agencies with a discount on media billings. (more…)