It seems that whenever Apple intros a new version of the iPhone or the iPad customers are prepared to camp out overnight just to be one of the first to own such a product. While I drove past the Palo Alto store yesterday and studied the line I couldn’t help but think that these lines were a marketing opportunity for someone. I could easily see an app vendor creating some stunt that gave the first 100 people in each line a free copy of their app, so that their app instantly became a hit just as the new platform comes out. I could see consumer brands such as Dr Scholls (the people who make foot care products) creating ‘Apple Line Waiting’ gift bags. I could see Starbucks offering a ‘mobile (get it?) latte service’ for the people stuck in line. Right now the only people benefiting from the lines is Apple. With lines formed in major cities across the world, surely there’s an opportunity for someone to capitalize? Come on all you creative consumer marketers, get your thinking caps on.
Apple‘s launch of the iPad has gone very well from a PR perspective. They got a mammoth amount of press and social media coverage over the weekend, with virtually all the major news outlets covering the excitement around the product. The excitement has caused a minor crisis in that some analysts got so caught up in the moment that they raised already lofty sales expectations for the opening weekend to silly levels, levels it turns out Apple can’t meet. That aside there have been no negative stories out there. Early reviews are good, the machine seems to actually work and therefore there are no stories of users with problems. All, it seems, is well in iPadland.
Looking behind the launch a little further you can see that Apple did some sensible pre-launch PR including the product placement on Modern Family last week. They also had some nice touches such as Steve Wozniak and Jobs attending different Apple stores to lend their tech celebrity status to the proceedings. Lastly the app and content vendors have started to promote the product with announcements of new applications, books etc. As a measure of the noise level, do a YouTube search on the Apple iPad and you get over 14,000 videos. Do a Google search on the Apple iPad and you get over 136 million mentions.
We are only days in to the life of the iPad but I think it’s fair to say the PR has been a success and market has been created. Indeed, while there was nothing really innovative about the iPad PR, you can argue that what they lost on creativity they more than made up for on execution. Anyone that doesn’t know this product exists, probably never will. Now it’s up to the iPad to actually sell to the masses and not just the Apple faithful. That said, the Apple faithful is an awfully big market these days.