Let’s give Apple credit. The tech giant had the smarts to yank its “Genius” advertising campaign soon after it debuted during the Olympics.
Thank God. Because I hated them.
I’ve been a strong supporter of the Apple brand and feel incomplete without it, which is the mark of branding success. In fact, if Apple produced a brick emblazoned with its logo I’d be first in line to buy one.
Under Steve Jobs’ leadership, Apple became a coveted brand that instilled intense loyalty in customers. Apple devotees were willing to travel to Apple Stores to purchase pricey products that were similar to items being sold for less in big-box outlets.
Enter the “Genius” ads: These featured an Apple employee from the store’s Genius Bar helping customers with their Apple computers. These ads were so far off brand they seemed to signal that Apple’s demise might be underway. The Genius commercials abandoned the simplicity, elegance and “Think Different” position Apple owns. Worse, they were reminiscent of Best Buy’s “Geek Squad” campaign.
It was sad to see Apple wallowing in the mire.
While it’s commendable that Apple scrapped them, the fact that the company produced this misguided campaign at all is troubling. If you’ve read Walter Isaacson’s biography, “Steve Jobs,” you know just how deeply involved the tireless co-founder of Apple was in every facet of the company, from development to design to, yes, marketing.
Jobs was an unapologetic micro-manager who battled with those who disagreed with him.
With the passing of Steve Jobs, I wonder what the future holds for Apple. And worry.