Publicity SNAFU or Marketing Brilliance?

“This will be the most important thing I’ve ever done.” – Steve Jobs on the new Apple iPad.

Soon everyone will look like this.

When Apple announced the iPad earlier today; millions of menstrual cycle jokes would soon follow. Women giggled as they read the news, then promptly rolled their eyes as the first smartass in the office begun to ask them if they’d be upgrading their pads. People everywhere were left thinking to themselves: What the hell Apple?

Truth is, when you pour 600+ million dollars into Research and Development every year, you’re not overlooking anything by naming a tablet PC the “iPad”.

Apple knew full well that the term was an easy target. I bet they even counted on it. If I check my Twitter right now, five of the eleven daily trending topics reference the product in some way. Six reference Apple and seven reference either Apple or a competitor. (in this case Kindle) I’ve seen a few people reference it on Facebook and its hit as today’s top story on most of the news sites I check. It’s been blogged about, mocked, discussed and torn apart bit by bit. The company’s stock was even up nine dollars moments after the announcement. Apple has managed to create a lot of buzz.

But what about a month down the road? Two months? Three?

Long after the luster of the obvious jokes subside and when the iPad finally launches, we’re going to be left with the first product that comes to mind when people think “tablet computer”.

Remember that Apple wasn’t the first company to tackle the Mp3 Player; they won that market by offering a user-friendly, and in most ways superior, product – combined with a somewhat innovative marketing campaign during the last economic boom. Apple isn’t the first company out of the gate with tablet PCs and being user-friendly is the name of the game now. You can’t expect to successfully market a new product as “user friendly” because everyone is doing it.

So how do you push a new product that can be easily lost amongst the competition and other products of a major global brand? You make a dick and fart joke out of it.

~J

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