Friday, March 28, 2014

Ford falls into the Apple Trap

Remember her?  She is singular, alone but likes it that way, her own person, cool, chic - and in her hand she shows you how you too can join in her chic "aloneness" - just go buy the Apple iPod, and you too can become chic and at the top of the pyramid.  Making a stand, not worried in the slightest with your aloneness as it certainly isn't loneliness as you have status! And note she has her fist clenched in courageous defiance over - well that doesnt matter.  There, take that, I am chic, powerful, dance, and very very unique and elite as I am not one of the masses.  Why isn't she one of the masses?  Because she is alone by choice, cut off by her headphones and dancing.

One has an idea she is a revolutionary, striving for  - well.something important.  Maybe she is in the camp of Occupy Wall St, or doing important 2% stuff, or upset about - something unique singular, alone.  Something cool.

So, you want to be as cool as this woman, go buy an iPad, actually any Apple product works, and you will be one of the few.  It doesn't matter that every single one of your friends, colleagues, teachers, peers, parents, kids, and..... have an iPod, do the same dance - you are still unique, and your iPod and Apple product set you apart and give you a tribal identity.

This is where Steve Jobs genius lay, not in the product tech side of life - his stuff is over wrought but sexy and cool looking - but in marketing and the ability to convince the vast majority who ended buying Apple products, they are really a small elite tribe.  Absolutely stone cold brilliant.

He jumped onto the channel that Tom Wolfe, to the best of my knowledge, first described in Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers , a piercing savaging of the ego and pomposity of the elite as they use "causes" to secure their uniqueness and class. Radical chic was  first used as a way to identify the upper class, the caring brilliant upper class, who used "causes" the way their crew use to use mink coats decades prior.  Wrap yourself in them.

Volkswagen then picked this up as a way to get an advertising message across, and off we went.

Bu the grand champion of "cause" advertising was Steve Jobs, who wasn't happy with the true individual radical early Apple users 5% market share, he wanted Apple to stay radical, stay with the "cause", but get to massive market share.  He didn't really start to do this in a big way until he borrowed a page from McLuhan and figured out the medium becomes the message and vice versa and - with genius - all that early true high tech capabilities wrapped themselves up with music and a way to secure trademarks for the music.  Brilliant.

Didn't matter the product sorta sucked that the headphones leaked enough to drive anyone within 20 feet nuts, as if you held a vintage "boombox" on your shoulder, you were empowered, you were dancing alone.  You were chic, you joined the tribe - far out.

And the joke being of course  that your participation with Apple made for what would become one of the most mainstream behemoths, right up there with Exxon.  Far out.

Franzen perhaps nailed it best in Freedom, the hypocrisy at the core of this chic hipster tribal marketing:

“I think the iPod is the true face of Republican politics, and I’m in favor of the music industry … standing up proud and saying it out loud: We in the Chiclet-manufacturing business are not about social justice, …we’re not about a coherent set of national ideals, we’re not about wisdom. We’re about choosing what WE want to listen to and ignoring everything else…. We’re about giving ourselves a mindless feel-good treat every five minutes. …We’re about persuading ten-year-old children to spend twenty-five dollars on a cool little silicone iPod case that costs a licensed Apple Computer subsidiary thirty-nine cents to manufacture.”

Global warming figured this out and off they went as well to where you had to believe in global  warming to dance comfortably alone with the woman above.  You had to believe.  That is why global warming is the first "science" that is completely dependent on mainstream marketing and advertising - polar bears seemingly stranded 1000 miles offshore and and and....  You got to get your iPod, you got to get your iPad, you got to believe in global warming so as you could dance with the woman all in black. or you became that poor dullard in the early Apple ads stupidly self destructive and exiling himself using IBM.  You went out and slaughtered baby polar bears, you farted methane enough to make yourself an EPA site and you would never ever get the woman in black above.

So- you really really want to be the Apple guy, so go buy your iPhone and your iPad and of course you already got your iPod - heck you might go get a Mac now.  It makes you radical chic, and you then belong.

Brilliant brilliant marketing.

Now global warming wrapped itself in this moving from fuddy duddy science to the slickest of the slick invitation to the tribe stuff.  The big shift of course was Oscar winning "Inconvenient Truth", made by one of the slickest of the slick movie directors, or really advertising director, Davis Guggenheim (always wondered if he was named "Davis" at birth) married to the glorious Elizabeth Shue.

Now full disclosure, Davis - despite being the Apple guy that he is and very very cool - gutted a hedge fund I was with with a movie who I have through CSR forgotten the name of but has something to do with a young woman - no doubt the Apple woman dancing above later in life - finding herself by playing elite soccer.  It was perhaps the worst film made in the last century, destroyed the hedge fund pretty well and the only time I ever saw the film later was when my kids gleefully pointed out to me while traveling it was offered in the hotel in-room film menu for $2.00 while all the other films were offered for $14.00.  Oh well.  Our problem, we tried to be a cool hedge fund and buy our way to dance alone with the Apple woman and who would be better than the grand wizard of global warming propaganda - Davis.

Global warming crew if they have no science they can at the very least take Chiat Day out of business if they wished, and it is now "c-l-i-m-a-t-e  c-h-a-n-g-e" or as I like to see it global warming with  absolute value signs around it - |global warming| - so they got you coming or going now, cold or hot. But it is once again Apple marketing, to be cool you got to believe in climate change, or |global warming|.

Now after Davis taught them, if you propose to the unwashed  that with this

you can get the Apple woman, off they go and we have physicist conducting symphony orchestras on behalf of climate change, or |global warming|.

Now I get to the point.

GM released the "CaddyMan ad which at first was so obnoxiously elite Americana it was a delight and refreshingly honest.  Yes in the USA people deep down dont really want the Apple woman, they dont need a tribe, they dont need a meaning, they dont need to own a iPod but for ease of listening to their old Belafonte stuff or their Tom Petty and as soon as they got shed of this Apple crap and into Android, they are now on the far easier and less messy Google Play.  All they want is ridiculous comfort, fun, status, power, perfect kids who adore them  and of course these guys drive a Caddy, an electric Caddy at that but that is sorta a joke from their point of view and they will drive a electric hybrid because it is even more expensive and the 400 Vortex engine is still in there.  And in the end we know the sordid truth - they do get the Apple woman.

But isnt this guy the one you hate, a 2%?  Hell a .002%.  He dont have a iPod, right?  He dont do Mac, no how?  But the ad company Rogue that did the ad are coming in like a lazer, they are calling your bluff, they are speaking real truth, and in the sanctity of your own home where no one will see you, you are offered a deal to identify yourself with Caddyman, and stop using all this cheap Apple shit and living in cheap terrible spots claiming it is part of your identity and just go unabashedly main stream American.  Come on, fess up - you want that Caddy, you want that pool, you do work like hell - you sneer at those Frenchies who take all of August off - off! - and your kids are perfect co-conspirators, giving you high fives.  You hate Apple guy, that sneering snot nosed twerp who all day long tortures you at the office.  And you know the truth who gets Apple woman in the end.  Caddyman. The Caddy ad was perhaps a wee bit overplayed and overstayed its welcome, but it is a brilliant counter to the "emperor has no clothes,  but you are member of the tribe Apple" mmarketing.   Now I wonder if this indicates the back lash is coming, tje end of the lemming Apple marketing ability is over, that the radical chic is once more seen through and has become a joke.

But Ford doesnt thinks so.

So Ford completely screwed up and talked into it by their Davis crony Ford's internal folks 'Team Detroit" who lock step parodied  the GM Rogue ad:

The arrogance of Ford 'Team Detroit" have neatly skewered themselves upon the Rogue agency sword, falling into the trap in ways that the Rogue GM guys could not have dreamed of in their wildest imagination.  They take on all the Apple marketing sanctimonious ideals, not heeding the great secret of such marketing - don't go "full retard", don't go full global warming Occupy Wall Street, anti 2% - or don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Let us count the ways Ford screwed up - the Apple Woman now becomes  "Ms. Eat Your Peas" lecturing us on what dopes we are not collecting our merde, not saving our food scraps for something or other and not dressing really really - well she was just out hanging in manure fields or something - and I actual get a bit of a flash back to Angela Davis and.....  And that car??  When Apple made me buy something to join the tribe it was at least cool looking, did the job, and was even fun.  But that car?  man that is martyrdom for the cause and I don't want anything to do with that.  This Apple woman frankly scares me a bit and likely will sue my ass off for something. I don't want this tribe, no sirree - I want tribes that get me with the other Apple woman who's radical attitude is sexy likely empty and fun - this Ford woman aint fun and she likely can not dance.  Running around collecting manure.  

And the car:

No No No No   count me out, and this Ford ad is a public service announcement to warn me away from what this trip is all about.  "Team Detroit" are illiterate sods who never read Franzen and didn't figure out the Apple joke and Chiclets, likely don't know who Jonathan Swift is and don't get satire and a wink, and all wrapped up in their smug hipster stuff, they simply went out and self immolated.  I bet they last another 3 weeks at Ford - at least the tough pragmatic Ford guys I met when I was trying to get into the pension - my version of the Apple dancing woman back then.

Ok, I will talk about how obnoxious it all is - how I never liked that guy anyway in Band of Brothers, how crass and so so awful.  And I will say this as I go tip tapping on my iPad - but I will, when no one is watching sneak off and take a look at this:

Sorry Manure Lady - you aint the Apple woman anyway, you cant dance.

I am the Caddyman. I hate Frenchies taking all of August off.

And if I can ever get a loan, I am buying that Caddy and the electric will allow me to keep club tribal membership and still get all the good stuff.

N'est pas?

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