Remember just a few years ago when Apple was lambasted for shipping a one-button mouse with its Macs, and there was constant speculation as to why the company stubbornly refused to offer a multibutton option? The given reasoning was that more buttons would confuse people, even though PC users seemed to do just fine with them. Not that Apple has always shied away from a bit of complexity in the mouse arena--just look at the first Mighty Mouse--but still, there has been something about one-button products that Apple has consistently liked; both the iPhone and iPad have only one button … Read more
Check out these great illustrations from the 1960's, possibly done by Henry Drefuss' office, envisioning how the aesthetics of the electric grid can be improved. These are from a little-known book called Power Styling, commissioned by United States Steel. The book introduces the concepts this way:
“The problem of locating electric power structures and lines is becoming increasingly difficult. The public is sensitive to and critical of the appearance of such facilities which traditionally have been designed on a function-reliability-safety-initial low cost basis with little consideration given aesthetics. Remedial measures taken during or after erection are usually of limited … Read more
Whatever you may think about Apple, there is no denying that it continues to set new standards for its craft. Craft? Yes, that seemingly old-fashioned word that many confine to quilting, scrap-booking, and other pursuits often disparagingly categorized as women's activities. My alma mater, the California College of the Arts, dropped the word craft from its name years ago, feeling that it was dragging the image of the school down. But craft as a concept has made something of a comeback in recent years, and no company in the mass-production realm is doing it better than Apple.
That's … Read more
As we're inundated with hero shots of the iPad every day, on every billboard and the back of every magazine cover, it appears to be a good time to rethink the relationship between advertising and product, between marketing and innovation. It's not that Apple doesn't spend any money on advertising--no, it was pouring a whopping $500 million into its launch campaign for the iPad. But what is different is that Apple's marketing doesn't have to be clever or utterly creative. In fact, it is stunningly not so. No major social media campaign needed to be sparked, no user-generated content contest needed to be held. And while the ongoing tongue-in-cheek anti-Microsoft ads are undeniably cute, they are not really an advertising revelation. Gone are the days of the bold "1984" campaigns. Today, Apple earns enough attention to forgo any ostentatious marketing, in fact, so much that a cleverly orchestrated campaign would distract from the brand rather than boosting it. The company simply displays its products--that's all it takes. Apple's products are viral without any viral marketing.… Read more
Those who know me will tell you that I tend to reflect on things, but the sad truth is that my brain is simply slow: here I am, writing about the iPad months after everybody else has put the microscope down and decided to wait for the thing to finally hit the market for real.
From my vantage point of nonengagement I must admit it was oddly amusing to see Apple for once unable to safely ride out the centrifugal mammoth hype tube they managed once more to build around their latest … Read more
For the first time in 23 years, Pepsi has decided to not run any advertisements during the Super Bowl. Instead, the nation’s second-biggest soft drink maker is plowing marketing dollars into its "Pepsi Refresh Project," an online community that lets Pepsi fans list their public service projects, which could range from helping to feed people to teaching children to read. Visitors to the site can vote to determine which projects receive money. The program will pay at least $20 million for projects people create to "refresh" communities. Last year, Pepsi spent $33 million advertising products such as Pepsi, Gatorade, and Cheetos during the Super Bowl, according to TNS Media Intelligence, $15 million of it was on Pepsi alone. Ad time last year for the NFL championship game cost about $3 million for 30 seconds, on average. Pepsi spokeswoman Nicole Bradley said Super Bowl ads don't work with the company's goals next year: "In 2010, each of our beverage brands has a strategy and marketing platform that will be less about a singular event and more about a movement." Pepsi's remarkable decision epitomizes the new paradigms of marketing: Online instead of TV; many-too-many instead of one-too-many; engagement instead of advertising; sharing instead of broadcasting; movements instead of events; communities instead of campaigns.… Read more
A recent article by Don Norman brings up some valuable and provocative questions about the value of design research. I read it as an extension of his previous shift in thinking about the value of usability analysis, where he concluded that it was vital for good to design, but it didn't lead to great design. In this new article he argues that design research has not led to breakthrough innovations or products, but is better suited for improving existing products and technologies.
I actually agree with much of what he says, though I see the definition of design research … Read more
I attended the Trendforum in Munich last week, a two-day conference that gathered European innovation, marketing, and R&D executives to explore emerging technologies, social trends, and innovative business models. The program was eclectic and the content mostly of high quality. I was particularly intrigued by the opening session that intersected macro-economic forecasting with geeky trend evangelism as well as a humanistic pledge for meaning-driven business (in fact, the other sessions didn’t even come close, including special guest Ray Kurzweil, whose remote keynote, given by way of 3D-holographic projection, remained utterly flat).
As the first speaker, Markku Wilenius, … Read more
It's always good to be the first, and while crowdsourcing, the trend, may have jumped the shark, a fully crowdsourced creative agency is a bold creative experiment and still news. Two Crispin Porter + Bogusky alums, John Winsor and Evan Fry, together with Claudia Batten, the founder of Microsoft-acquired video game advertising shop Massive, have launched Victors & Spoils (V&S), "the world's first creative agency built on crowdsourcing principle."
V&S says it will "provide businesses with a better way to solve their marketing, advertising and product-design problems by engaging the world's … Read more
Forrester is about to release a new report on “Adaptive Brand Marketing: Rethinking Your Approach to Branding in the Digital Age,” in which it proposes replacing “brand managers” with “brand advocates.” Advertising Age provides a sneak peek at the ‘new 4 Ps of Marketing’ presented in the report: permission, proximity, perception, and participation. Other core elements include: “embracing an expanded role for consumer intelligence, focusing on strategic brand platforms, and empowering a federated organization."
A fervent advocate of marketing as a cross-organizational catalyst for change myself, I wholeheartedly agree with BBH Labs which believes the Forrester report points to … Read more