There's been a lot of industry discussion this week about whether Apple's "first ad" for the new iPad device was a good one.
AdAge.com said it "won't go viral", Brandchannel had a mixed review, the blogosphere weighed in (here and here), etc. The typical statement in all reports was "Apple chose the ceremony to run its first ad for iPad." Not true!
The first ad came on 27 January
For two decades the industry and the academy have been saying "it's all advertising" - the TV spots, the billboards, the sandwich boards, and of course the digital stuff. I agree because this is how consumers see it.
Thus Apple's first iPad advertisement came on 27 January when Steve Jobs went on stage and told us all about it.
Psst... Apple is an Old School marketer!
The AdAge.com article naively called the TV ad "retro" since "it's all about driving viewers to Apple.com, and a potential sale; dissemination of the video itself is secondary." What? Sell actual product rather than attract fame for a bazillion YouTube hits?
Recently a marketing consultant who works for Apple told me that Steve Jobs believes the best advertising medium is...Television. This shouldn't be a surprise given that Apple has consistently won via TV ("1984" comes to mind). I also hear that Jobs is personally involved in the development of each Mac guy/PC guy TV commercial.
Apple's success model
I would add, strictly via observation, that Apple believes in two other things besides TV.
One is the absolute oldest and most reliable form of advertising, bar none: Word Of Mouth. The PR event they staged back on 27 January succeeded because it unleashed a torrent of free publicity. One could surmise that the "leaks" of product information out of China in the weeks-long lead up were planned. By the time we saw the TV ads on Sunday we knew what to expect.
The second thing Apple relies upon is the absolute oldest, most reliable form of sales, bar none: Retail. Have you ever been to an Apple store? Sure it is a monument to the brand that attracts many window shoppers, but it also attracts a lot of actual buyers. Mrs. Ad Majorem bought an iPhone this past year and was treated so well that she also bought a MacBook Pro. They go beyond just bricks-and-mortar retail, too: their digital media presence is kind of light other than a little enterprise called iTunes.
It's all about the sales
Steve Jobs started out sequencing 1s and 0s - and he knows how they sequence on a balance sheet, too.