The UK Apple ads…

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I was out jogging last night with my new iPod Shuffle. The iPod Shuffle I bought just before Apple released the new coloured iPod Shuffle, with the new style headphones…Hmmm…Anyway, that isn’t the point of this article. It’s what I saw whilst out running that caught my attention. There upon the side of a bus shelter was a UK version of the ‘I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC’ adverts.Apple of late has completely gone against character, and started actually advertising the Mac for a change. These ads started in the US, spread over to China, and now here in the UK we are blessed with ‘UK-centric’ versions of these ads.I’ve already spoken of the US ads before, but these new UK ads do need to be commented on further, not on whether they work, or are well put together, but on the very subtle differences between our versions, and the US ones.Firstly there’s the cultural differences, the Mac guy says ‘hello’, instead of ‘hi’, for instance, and there’s a healthy smattering of UK colloquialisms. This shows that a lot of thought has been given to making these ads work in a UK setting, instead of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ marketing the UK has got used to from global brands.If I hear ‘zoom-zoom’, or ‘auto-emocion’ one more time I’ll scream.Secondly are the changes to the scripts. Where the ads are the same, (in ‘Viruses’ for instance), the US Mac states that those 114,000 viruses do not affect the Mac, whereas the UK Mac says that those same viruses do not affect Mac OS X.This difference is important. It shows that Apple is refining the text of each advert, making them more explicit in their meaning. For the first time, they’re highlighting the difference between the software, not just the hardware. All this is gearing up for Leopard I expect.After running past this advert on the bus shelter, and being more than a little surprised, it struck me that we are witnessing something of a change in Apple. This is the first time I’ve ever, EVER seen a bus shelter advert for the Mac in the UK, and by the looks of it, it’s a nationwide campaign.Such a high-profile campaign as this, to be given a UK push is unheard of. Coupled with the anti-Vista jibes on the Apple website, it seems that Steve Jobs is finally ready. Now he has a first-class, portable OS, and first-class hardware in place, he’s ready to go for it – he’s ready to attack Microsoft.There’s a technique in marketing which states that there is no point in launching a huge advertising campaign, unless the product you are selling (and the customer experience that surrounds it) is the best you can provide. If your product is second rate, then the extra attention that your advertising will give you, will actually damage your sales and image, doing more harm than good.Apple has been playing the waiting game, waiting until all the pieces are in place, before they launch their long-overdue attack on the Microsoft monopoly.If this continues, (and I can only see Apple getting more aggressive against Microsoft when Leopard launches, with all it’s tie-ins to the iPhone, the inevitable new iPods, & TV), Microsoft will then be forced to launch it’s final nuke, the one it’s been threatening Apple with for years, the one that started all this.They will cancel Microsoft Office for Mac – with some pointless reason attached of course.Many years ago, Phil Schiller (the then CEO of Apple), gave away the crown jewel of Apple (the Mac GUI), because Microsoft threatened to pull Mac Office. This allowed Microsoft to get away with launching the travesty that was Windows 95, and it all went downhill for the Mac after that.I wouldn’t worry though, by that time it will be too late for Microsoft. Apple will have the Intel version of Office released, which should last Apple at least 3 years before it would need to be updated anyway.That will be the year 2010. By which time the tech landscape could be very different indeed.

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