Friday, February 29, 2008

Guess who's back?

You're probably right, you've guessed it, PHUA is back.
Yes yes, the man is in the house.

This time, the topic's gonna be on product placement and branding.

I've really got to start the ball by mentioning the Apple IPod. C'mon, you know it, i know it. It's a piece of ingenuity and the pioneer in the art of portable music players. But how did it get this way? Was it based on the sole desire of the vast majority of people to get something that is innovative and creative? I beg to differ. The selling point of the IPod is how it is actually sold into homes and the hands of buyers by the simple approach of the media and of course the awe of Steve Jobs.

Not putting Jobs or Macintosh down. I really admire the way they sell their products to thousands upon thousands of people that believe that Apple, or Macintosh, has the best selling equipment. However, there are several controversies that the IPod is not the ultimate portable music device.

Going back to the 2001 Macintosh Conference,birth place of the first ever IPod. It had a 5.5 hour life span, could hold a thousand songs and could only be charged by Firewire, an Apple invention. The speech was a success not because Jobs held up the perfect portable media player. It was simply in the way he built up the IPod and placed it in a place so far off from the other alternatives that they could barely smell the IPod smoke. The IPod was not only a music player. It was meant to be a profit earner. You're going to say, how can a company not want to make profit. Precisely! Apple has made millions upon millions thanks to their beloved IPod.

How did Macintosh go that far with the IPod? It all was held up on two simple facts. Product awareness and product placement. Making sure that everyone knew what an IPod is was the most important part of the Apple invasion. They had adverts, reviews online and in magazines,some of which are now legendary, for example the hit with the U2 track, "Vertigo". I'm sure that if you mention that song to someone who doesn't listen to U2, the person is going to go, "oh, that IPod advertisement!". It's so true that how much a company spends is how much they are going to get their products sold. Look at Macdonalds for another example. Billions, mind you, BILLIONS are spent on their advertising campaigns. They have TV shows, partys in the restaurant and so many gimmicks. A waste of money? NO. By judging at the amount of profit and revenue they make annually, i'm sad to say that Macdonalds is making the big bucks.

Back to Macintosh now. Have you realised that almost any music player or earphones in any of the movies, commercials, tv series etc. are all IPods? You've never seen a Hollywood film with Creative players being thrown around, or ran with a couple of superstars? It's always the Apple IPod. This is called product placement. If Apple is able to make sure that every single superstar carries an IPod with them, they can be certain that the IPods will sell like pancakes.No doubt that the public will view the IPod as luxury items, as items that stars will carry. This common desire, the deep yearning to be like a superstar or at least of superstar status draws them out to buy an IPod.This is the way companies work the public to get their products. Place high value on their products, yet sell it for a cheaper price because that selling price is leaps and bounds over the cost price, ever since IPods were Made In China.

The trap of commercialism is very very dangerous. IPods are just IPods. It's a matter of personal opinion and personal preference. No way can Apple shove an IPod into your pockets. They would not want to harm consumer rights and their opposition's rights. Fighting a law suit is much worse than persuading the general mass public to buy your products.

Definitely a thought worth thinking when you are shopping next time.

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