Here's to the crazy ones

We’re still trying to imagine a world without Steve Jobs.
If you haven’t read his sisters eulogy, you should: “A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs” New York Times link.

The “think different” spot that was created soon after Steve returned to Apple, and moved the ad account back to Chiat/Day and rekindled the relationship with Lee Clow, may be the best short tribute to Steve, even though it’s from 1997.

As a memento, tribute and gift to you- we’ve taken the spot and created a poster for you to print and hang.

Here's to the Crazy ones poster

Click on image for link to PDF of "Here's to the Crazy One's poster



Crispin Porter + Bogusky crashes Microsoft

It only takes 3x longer than an Apple ad to say absolutely nothing about why you should buy Vista- or believe Microsoft is anything different than the company that has ignored it’s customers for, well, since day one.

Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates meet in a mall at “Shoe Circus” and do exactly what Seinfeld is best known for- talk about nothing. As they walk out of the mall, after Bill has flashed his Shoe Circus Clown Club membership card, Seinfeld asks for a sign about the amazing future those geniuses at Microsoft have been dreaming up- just to get Bill to wiggle his ass on camera.

That shot is probably the most honest part of the whole spot: since Microsoft has been showing us their ass for as long as we’ve used their operating system and software. Software that crashes, software that attracts viruses like shit seduces flies, and a user interface that has never been intuitive- making the complex - harder. For the life of me, why does an end user need to know about a “registry?”

When Crispin Porter + Bogusky pitched this campaign- sources said that the winning concept was “Windows, not walls.” Somewhere along the line, they seem to have gotten sidetracked.

The Mojave Experiment was an attempt to do a “Pepsi Challenge” for Vista- only it was Vista in both cups. The website can’t be watched on a Mac- so forget about getting those customers back- and, it showcases one of the key problems Microsoft refuses to face: computing standards make for a better computing experience. From the earliest days of Mac vs PC it’s been the fundamental unique selling proposition that makes Mac’s the brand that can charge a premium and generate loyalty- once you learned how to do something in one program, it worked for all of them. Microsoft keeps thinking that the reasons users don’t like their software is because users are stupid- instead of realizing it was never about the software- it was about what you as a user, could accomplish with the software.

CP+B may have finally met a challenge that great ads can’t solve. This was only the first salvo. However, if Apple decides to release their OS X operating system to run on all Intel based PC’s for $249 (about double what they charge to run it on a Mac) Microsoft’s stock will fall faster than GM’s when gas hits $5 a gallon (as if it could fall much more).

In the end, we still come down to the old adage: “It’s not creative if it doesn’t sell.”

“Hi, I’m a Mac” from Chiat/Day has doubled market share for Apple in the last 2 years, while Apple is still charging a premium on their hardware. Go look at the comments on the YouTube spot above- and repeat after me: “I’m a PC and I’m leaving the building.”

Part II: a 4.5 minute showing Bill and Jerry trying to hang out with the “little people”- now Bill is doing the robot. Smacks of desperation.

Somewhere there has to be a strategy?

Apple fails truth in advertising 101

Apple iPhone 3G, twice as fast, half the price

Apple announced the 3G iPhone on Monday, June 9 2008. I imagine the lawsuits will start by today, but, don’t quote me on it. If they don’t, they should- and Apple should be ashamed.

This isn’t the first iPhone price debacle, the first generation iPhone started out at $599, only to have the price cut by $200 less than 60 days after launch. Apple made it up (sort of) to early adopters by granting them a $100 credit at the Apple store.

This time, the part that’s missing from the small print is that Apple’s US partner in this, ATT, is going to require all 3G iPhone buyers to sign up for a new 2 year contract that is $10 more a month for the data plan that you have to have with the iPhone if you want to use all of its features. That works out to $240 extra- $40 more than you’d pay for the original iPhone with service. This iPhone might be $199 instead of $399, but, you will pay more monthly.

It’s not clear if ATT is offering the old “EDGE” or 2.5G price option to new 3G buyers or not. As a user of the original iPhone, I can tell you this:

ATT’s idea of “Internet access” via the “EDGE” network- is an absolute farce- my old carrier, Sprint- not only had faster access, but less dropped calls, and better coverage. Also, the visual voice mail on the phone only works when you have internet access- which means without EDGE or a WiFi connection- you can’t reliably easily retrieve your voice mail.

Apple still has other issues in this price change. The old iPhone hasn’t been readily available for months. If your 2.5G iPhone (still under warranty) has an accident (like mine did on Saturday night- slipping out of the holster into a bucket of ice water)- Apple is still charging $249 for a refurb, with no additional warranty:

Apple iPhone accident repair plan
This price- $249 to replace a phone that will soon be obsolete- and that can be purchased new on July 11 for $199 makes no sense. Apple’s pricing guru’s are asleep at the wheel on this.

It’s also sending a message to Apple’s customers that Apple really doesn’t care about taking care of it’s best customers- the early adopters.

Besides the “half the price” being a lie, Apple and ATT still haven’t learned the number one truth of the internet enabled consumer: pricing games are over; “There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.” This was thesis 12 of the “Cluetrain Manifesto” published in 1999.

Subsidizing prices with subscription plans isn’t a viable way to build in hidden costs. Apple and ATT will have to learn this the hard way, which is really too bad, since they are probably reintroducing the greatest product in history- with features that will change the perception of what a phone can do as a computing platform- again.