Chances are, if you can name the Academy Award winner for best actor in 2010 without a Google search congratulations are in order for your memorable portrayal of King George VI.
You most likely never heard of Collin Firth, but surely have heard of the Apple iPad, as well as your neighbor, your grandmother, your barber, and every other breathing mammal in this galaxy or the next with opposable thumbs.
On March 7, 2010, while viewers of the 82nd Annual Academy Awards were awaiting to know the Oscar for Best Actor recipient to fuel their water-cooler-Twitter-chatter fixations, they were witness to the first ever Apple iPad television commercial. The 30-second teaser was the initial step into a viral marketing campaign that would transform Apple’s tablet from innovative to iconic.
An iPad in every student’s hand, used as every pilot’s navigation tool, every lawyer’s file cabinet, every doctor’s medical pad, every graphic designer’s sketchbook, as every author’s personal diary and manuscript library, etc.
The reach is as endless as the functionality of the device itself; the technology evolves faster than the market can comprehend, while Apple keeps it eerily aligned with the farthest reaching aspirations of its users.
The fact that long after the iPad’s initial April 2010 debut the intended target group for the device is still a mystery to its users and marketing gurus alike is as much a part of Apple’s intentional marketing agenda as their select use of music or digital graphics in their commercials.
“Marketing 101: When a company like Apple creates a device like the iPad, they must have a target market in mind. Nobody creates a device like this, least of all Apple, without knowing a lot about the people they want to buy it. So who is it?” -Ron Miller Feb 7, 2010 -Dani Web
Since day one of the Apple iPad’s launch, the late great Steve Jobs marketed the device as an evolutionary innovation that could not be easily defined or departmentalized. The iPad has been used as a core communication, instructional, and operational device in every industry from airline, to engineering, to medical, to the education sector. Steve Jobs marketing technique that originally worked with the iPod, then the iPhone, took on new life with the iPad and would arguably be the the same method Sergey Brin is attempting with Google Glass.
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has been taking interviews and performing presentations at campuses worldwide to promote the new Google Glass product, and the marketing behind the innovation itself is very Jobsesque. Google Glass, a pair of eye glasses that allow users to search the web, record and share life in live action hands free and on the fly, also utilizes facial recognition technology to match individual strangers to their social network accounts and provides translated subtitles when interacting with foreign speakers. This is more reminiscent of Terminator and some near-distant future where Skynet seeks to takeover the world than the clean edgy new wave branding assigned to many of these products in their marketing campaigns.
Has Job’s innate ability to pitch a new product into the fabric of daily society rubbed off on Zuck and Brin, or are they just modeling Job’s ambition for innovation and letting their products sell themselves?
Regardless of whether the Google and Facebook founders have taken a chapter from one of the greatest inventors and marketers of the last century, the fact remains that the Apple iPad could very well be one of the most significant inventions since the creation of the automobile. This is an accomplishment that should solely be credited to the marketing power of Steve Jobs because Apple wasn’t the first to create a mobile tablet. There is an irony worth a Google search.