It says a lot about Apple’s levels of secrecy that the announcement of their iWatch (or Apple Watch) could still pack such a punch. Naturally, there were very strong rumours, but the design – with its digital crown and 18-carat gold strap – were some distance away from the reality.
In digital marketing, what amazes even more is quite how Apple have been able to keep their distributing partners schtum for so long. When it comes to the big mobile companies, the embargo that Apple imposes is fearsome and binding. Even with the rapid rise of other real challengers – Samsung, Motorola (I’m looking at you, lovingly, Moto 360) – Apple has managed to rule with an iron hand.
Until now, perhaps. From a digital marketing perspective, what became apparent this year is that some of the tech companies seem willing to shake things up a bit. OK, so nobody went all-out and gave the game away, but a couple of them chanced the tech giant’s arm ever so slightly.
In the days before the launch of the iPhone 6, a well-known, cat-loving mobile phone company placed the below video on their YouTube channel. The idea was to play on the fact that Apple’s secrecy keeps them from saying too much – the trick, to appear to be saying quite a lot without revealing anything new. All of the features they parody were new to iOS 8, so they’d been in the public domain for several months. What comes through strongly is the brand personality; without ever mentioning themselves, you know immediately which brand will be selling the iCat, whatever that’s supposed to be…
In a similar vein, O2 published their version of a noisy pet trying to talk above Apple’s secrecy (what is it with phone companies and animal advertising?), playing with a simple image and strategic use of a black marker pen. From a brand personality perspective, it riffed on their ‘be more dog’ line, suggesting that O2 customers (do we call them dogs? Doggers?) are the kind of braggers that would love to beat Apple to the big reveal. Another clever use of brand personality wrapped around an item that all of their competitors will be trying to flog.
— O2 in the UK (@O2) September 1, 2014
Clearly, the mobile carriers are still a way away from flouting Apple’s secrecy demands entirely, but it’s nice to see those under the thumb starting to wriggle free a little bit. Of course, it takes the kind of clout held by Apple’s real competition to put up a genuine challenge, and for the third year in a row, Samsung came up trumps, ramping up the impudence to new and amusing heights – take a look at the ‘Wall Huggers’ video below. Quite how they’ll deal with the iWatch, only time will tell.