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Lee Newmark 5/2/07 COMM 320 Final Paper

APPLE- KING OF CONSUMER CULTURE Introduction Media, Advertising, Marketing; these three words may represent the three most dominant aspects in our world today. It is almost impossible to go a day or even perhaps an hour without being exposed to some form of media, advertising, or marketing. These three tactics have become so common in the industries of our society due to their immense success they have had thus far. First it was print advertising, then came television and radio advertising, and now corporations are attempting to extend their dominance to the internet. Every web page you are on, every click you make, or any pop-up you receive is an attempt to expose the consumer to a certain company or product. In all these cases, profit seems to be the motive behind all the schemes of these corporations and this is exactly what the majority have gotten. With this being said, there are companies that have separated themselves from the competition and have created somewhat of a “monopoly” on the consumer world. One of these companies is the ever popular Apple Corporation. They have created countless amounts of Advertising and Marketing campaigns through the years that have seen success beyond belief. Apple has so many different products that they offer (Computers, Phones, iPod’s) which has made for their existence in so many different markets in the world. In this paper I will be exploring the marketing and advertising campaigns and techniques of Apple and how they have become such a consumer powerhouse. Background

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Lee Newmark 5/2/07 COMM 320 Final Paper

One may wonder how a corporation this large came about and how it has come to be what it is now. Apple was founded on April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. It is interesting to note that Ronald Wayne sold back his stock to both Jobs and Wozniak before incorporation of Apple. Apple’s first product, Apple I, was built in Steve Jobs parent’s garage and was first shown at the Homebrew Computer Club in Silicon Valley. After they had sold around 200 units after this one showing, Jobs set out to expand the company. His first marketing campaign was with a local computer store called the Byte Shop. It took a lot of persuasion by Jobs himself, but eventually he was able to close the deal and sold fifty units for $500 each. With this money and other revenue that was obtained, Jobs was able to get the necessary parts to build Apple I, which would eventually lead to bringing this small time company to the forefront of the consumer world. Money was finally available to produce Apple I and the production line was set in motion. Within a year after the introduction of Apple I, the new and improved Apple II was first marketed at the West Coast Computer Faire on April 16, 1977. Ever since its conception, Apple has been seen as one of the kings of the marketing and advertising industry. Its founders had a vision for a product that could be used by people all over the world and this is exactly what was achieved. The first logo every used for Apple advertisements was a picture of Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree. This logo was soon replaced by the ever-famous “rainbow” apple that was developed by Rob Janoff. This came to be the logo for all of the products made by Apple for quite some time. Its advertising familiarity grew even more when their catchy slogan of “Byte into the Apple” was first introduced in the 1970’s. This was the slogan before Apple began to extend its dominance with the invention of new products for the Apple line. For example, for the
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highly popular iMac, the slogan was “iThink, therefore iMac.” Nowadays, Apple does indeed have company-wide slogans, but their approach for advertising focuses on marketing the individual products by themselves rather than with the company as a whole. Theories From the beginning, Apple knew how to do things right. The marketing strategies and advertising techniques used were really able to have a profound effect on the population. For one, a lot of what Apple did had never been done by another company and this was quite appealing to the consumer. A great example of this is their infamous Superbowl commercial that aired during the third quarter of the 1984 Superbowl. This was a sixty-second commercial that introduced the Apple’s revolutionary product, the Macintosh. It’s slogan at the end of the movie read “On January 24th, Apple computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984.” From the very beginning, Apple gave the consumer the image that it was a revolutionary company that would always be at the forefront of its industry. Its advertisements, especially this particular one, illustrate Apple’s attempts to reel in the consumer in such a dominating way that they will always stay loyal to their product. In the Superbowl commercial, you have a large group of people being completely mesmerized by what is on the screen and will do or listen to whatever the voice may say to them. This very powerful and dominant approach to advertisements can tie directly into the theory of the culture industry developed by Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer. I have chosen the theory of the culture industry developed by Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer. They refer to the term mass culture as something linked to standardization and commodification of culture. They see it is a tool used to condition the “masses.” The conglomerates, like Apple, that have taken such a great influence over our
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media system seem to be the leaders of this mass culture. One could almost go as far as saying that in the present time these corporations are the culture industry. With its influence everywhere from the radio, to television, to the internet, they have developed quite a strong control over the people or the “masses.” Just as Horkheimer and Adorno address, this culture industry holds the power to “condition” the people. A key point brought up in the reading was that this mass culture conditions the people to want things that the culture industry tells them they need. This can be clearly proven in all the advertisements that are placed by companies like Apple. Whether it is a pop-up on the internet or a TV commercial advertising a product, Apple is always trying to attract the consumer to their particular product. By use of many different clever techniques, Apple is able to display their products in a way that makes the consumer feel compelled to go out and purchase whatever it may be they are selling. Another major tool that these corporations have is the power over the media content. This also plays right into the main point of this theory that says people are conditioned to accept the choices given to them. They want to make sure that the content they put out there will make them profit and keep their customers support. It is almost like we have no choice but to accept this reality and this plays right into what Adorno speaks of (Adorno, 2001). This theory also gets into advertising and how it fits into the “culture industry.” Apple markets and advertises their products with such intensity that it is almost ingrained in our minds. They make a product so recognizable by a logo, slogan, or whatever it may be that it practically “sells itself.” This is why any new technological phenomenon that is created by Apple sells so quickly. Apple will constantly bombard you with advertisements of the new iPod, iPhone, iMac, or whatever it may be in an effort to get you to buy their new and spread the word to your
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friends. Apple has had such immense success because they have found a way to use different types of advertising that will appeal to all different demographics. Also, even some of their ads that they state as targeted towards teens can still be appreciated and appeal to those older than the target age. Their campaigns can range from individualistic advertising to lifestyle marketing to the making of active consumers. With regards to Apple advertisements in the past couple years, one that is undoubtedly one of the most famous and appealing is that of the new iPod advertisements. These ads feature a black silhouette of a person that is listening to an iPod in which the headphones and the device itself are noticeably white. In all of these commercials there is something to be noticed. There is only one person that ever appears in this ad, never two people listening to an iPod. With this being said, the theme of these aids seems to be that of individualism. The ad features one female or male listening to an iPod by themselves dancing around to whatever song is playing in that advertisement. There have been numerous ads in this campaign and them all feature different songs and different dances that the individual is doing. They seem to be having a lot of fun listening to their iPod by themselves and seem perfectly content just being an individual and not in a group. This whole theme of individualism is very interesting when you look at the Apple Corporation as a whole. They are currently the 121st largest corporation of all the Fortune 500 companies and seem to have quite a stronghold on the consumer world (Chester, 2007). Their products, especially the iPod have created a monopoly over all other similar devices and are basically taking the market by storm. What is quite contradictory is that in many of their ads they stress the theme of individualism, but on the other hand, they themselves are controlling the market and taking away much of the individualism of the consumer and other small companies.
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This is one argument that can be related to these advertisements, but there is also another stance that can be taken. If you are to look at the readings by du Gay and Stuart Hall titled “Walk-men and Walk-Women” you will see that these advertisements do more than contradict the theme of individualism. For example, Apple is one of the most successful companies in the United States, but it also has tremendous success around the world. If you were to walk into the majority of countries around the world and mention the word “iPod” there is a very good chance they will know what you are talking about. The iPod itself has become synonymous with that of being “techno-forward” or up to date on your technology. The name itself has its own meanings around the world and that is something that you cannot say for all products in today’s world. The way that Apple has marketed and advertised the iPod is something truly extraordinary and revolutionary. The article also describes certain qualities that describe “late modern” society or the society we currently live in today: mobility, choice, difference, privacy, miniaturization, and portability (du Gay, Paul, et al, 1997). Just as these values are all portrayed in the Walkman ads, the iPod and Apple computer advertisements do the same. With the iPod, you can take the small device anywhere you go and you have the choice to listen to whatever music you choose. Also, with the headphones that you can plug into your iPod, you are almost in your own little world listening to the music without anyone else hearing. Aside from the characteristics in the du Gay article, the iPod also stresses liveliness and fun in its ad campaign. While listening to their iPod each consumer can create their own social identity and act in whatever way they feel most comfortable or see fit. The ability for the consumer to choose how it uses the device based on their own characteristics and personality is a perfect example of what John Fiske discusses in his readings
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involving lifestyle marketing. Each advertisement that is made can appeal to a different demographic. One ad might depict a man, the next a woman, the next a man wearing trendy clothing, etc. Either way, whatever your lifestyle happens to be the campaign can make it fit somehow into their advertisement. Apple attempts to appeal to all demographics in our society in an effort to maximize their number of customers. Their success has become quite evident when you look at the older demographic that has been appealed to. For example, it is now becoming more and more frequent for iPod’s and other Apple products to be included on wedding registries. Another example would be the new iPod alarm clocks or radios that can be very useful to an adult that needs to be up for work at a certain time every morning and wants to enjoy their favorite song when doing so. Apple attempts to do its m marketing in such a way that will appeal to numerous different lifestyles. Another key concept in the Fiske readings is that of his idea of “active consumers” or “active audience.” (Fiske, 1991). Apple has been able to develop new marketing and advertising tactics that play directly into this theory. For example, take the new Campaign titled “Product Red.” This project was created by Bono and Bobby Shriver, Chairman of DATA to raise awareness and money for The Global Fund. They have done so by teaming up with the world's most recognizable brands to produce Product Red branded products. A percentage of each Product Red product sold is given to The Global Fund. This money will then go to helping women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. Apple’s specific role in this campaign is their development of the Red iPod nano. Every time a consumer purchases a Red iPod nano, ten dollars of that purchase goes towards the Global Fund. In getting involved with this campaign, Apple is showing the consumer that they care about more than just the profit and they want to help this foundation. But, at the same time they are challenging the consumer to go

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out and buy their product because it will benefit the Global Fund. This is quite a genius marketing strategy because it makes them look like they want the consumer to buy the product to help the Global Fund and not just for their own profit (when in fact they are profiting from each Red nano sold). Also, with being teamed up with a celebrity like Bono, brings in another great marketing strategy and an even greater appeal to the iPod. All the millions of fans out there that want to support Bono can do so by purchasing an iPod from Apple. Getting involved in campaigns like this can not only mean profit for Apple, but it definitely brings a positive image on the company in the eyes of the consumer. Methods The image of a company is something that is very important in today’s world. How you are viewed by the public can have a major effect in all aspects of a company. With a positive image in the eyes of the consumer, an advertisement or marketing campaign is much more likely to be received positively. One would much rather buy a product of a company they like, and more importantly, trust than one that possesses neither of these qualities. As part of my research, I passed out a survey that I developed to all the students in three of my classes. Each of these classes had about thirty students in it so I was able to obtain a good representation of the college demographic. The first question on the survey was do you consider yourself a frequent shopper (making two or more merchandise purchases in a week)? This was a question that allowed me to separate the students into two different groups of consumers so it would be easier to analyze the data. It was almost split dead even with this first question: Forty-seven people said yes and Forty-three people said no. I then proceeded to ask a number of questions about Apple and their dominance over the media industry. For example, one question that I asked was how many times
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a day do you see an advertisement for Apple or someone who has an Apple product (iPod), etc.? The results for this question were quite staggering. Over 70% of my sample said that they saw an advertisement or someone with an Apple product at least four to five times every day. It is interesting to note that these answers are coming from those just in the Champaign-Urbana area, and these students are seeing them at an average five times a day; imagine how many times the rest of the country and even the world see representations of Apple. As a follow-up to this question, I asked about Apple’s most popular product, the iPod. The question asked was do you or someone you know own an iPod (mini, nano, etc.)? One-hundred percent of those that I surveyed answered yes to this question, proving just how dominant this product has become in our society. The amount of profit and recognition that the company has gotten for this one product is something that, at this level, has rarely been seen before in our consumer history. The advertising and marketing campaign for this product has been so well managed and it has kept the interest of the public in their product strong for a very long time. To prove the success of these campaigns on more than that of just the college demographic, I also handed out the survey to each professor TA’s in each of these classes as well as the mother’s that were at my fraternity during the past “mom’s weekend”. I asked a few similar questions including: Are you a frequent shopper and the question regarding you or someone you know owning an iPod. The results for the frequent shopper were a little smaller in favor of “yes” than the younger demographic, but once again it was a one-hundred percent “yes” for the second question. In today’s world, it would is quite difficult to find someone who would answer “no” to this question. Another question that I asked these adults what their favorite iPod or iPod accessory was and the top results were the different types of iPod alarm clocks. This
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would definitely make sense because the majority of adults that work have to get up at an early hour and need an alarm clock to wake them up. The iPod serves this purpose and does so in a way that is not with an annoying beeping sound. It gives the consumer the freedom of choice to choose what music they will be woken up to, the volume it is at, and many other easily customizable features. The way these features are designed can be quite appealing to those in the working demographic who want to start off their day with a sound they enjoy rather than one where they simply want to break their alarm clock. The iPod and all of its accessories have gotten so popular with the older demographic that you are beginning to see these items quite frequently on wedding registries. The way that the advertising and marketing is done for the iPod and its accessories makes it appealing to those of all demographics. Everyone can find some need to have an iPod whether it be walking to class, walking to the office from the train, working out, or whatever it may be. The placement and content of Apple’s ads is done very cleverly to make sure they keep all of society interested in their product. To attest to the importance of the strategies of marketing and advertising, I decided to interview my father who runs an advertising company in Chicago. His office does a lot of work with the actual placement of ads and taking the necessary steps to make it appealing to the consumer. He has been doing this for quite some time and has done so with a lot of successful campaigns so I figured this would be a very credible source. I asked him what some of the main things were that needed to be considered in placing a particular Ad? The first thing he said is its effectiveness in catching the eye upon first sight. For a print ad that is usually stuck somewhere in the middle of a newspaper page or on a random page in a magazine it is quite easy to be overlooked by the consumer. The ad needs to have color and a placement that is immediately
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noticeable to the consumer. For the television ads which the iPod has become famous for he stated that it needs to have very similar effects. But, one thing that is important with the TV ads is it sound. It needs to have a certain tune to it that is familiar or one that is catchy. If you can get somebody to get your ad stuck in their head, you have accomplished your goal. Something that he stressed is that you want to the leave the consumer with something they will remember. It needs to have an effect where they will go out and tell their friends or family right after seeing the particular ad. This will lead to even more people that are interested in the product and more purchases being made. He made it clear that this is exactly why Apple is so successful. All of their advertisements are so unique and creative that it leaves a lasting image or sound in the consumer’s mind. People begin to talk, those people continue to talk, and Apple continually profits. He made reference to the different color schemes that Apple uses in its famous television ads. They always use bright colors that contrast very well with the white of the iPod and the headphones. This allows the consumer to be attracted by the bright colors, but at the same time focus on the iPod itself. This is a technique that he uses with a lot of the advertisements that his company places. It works very well because it immediately brings the consumer in and it makes clear what product is trying to be sold (Personal Communication, 2007). He also made reference to the campaigns that Apple does such as “Project Red.” This was interesting to note because I never made mention to this that it was part of my paper during the course of the interview. His company also deals with publicity and public relations and he finds that work like “Project Red” is important for a company. To be associated with charity and to be seen as a company that gives back to the community is very important. He tries to keep his clients informed on all the charity events happening around Chicago where they can join on to.
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He finds this very important because not only are you helping a charity and gaining a positive public image, but it is also a chance for a company to get their name or a new product out to the public. It works out for both the charity and the company who is doing the campaigning. There are millions of people in this world that feel so strongly about ethics of business and this is why it is important for a company to stay involved. If it is noticeable to the public that a company seems to be all out there for only profit and only looking out for themselves, many people will be discouraged from buying their product. As a consumer, you have to feel like they are really trying to appeal to you and show society that they are connected with the community. This can all be done (as shown by apple) by the different campaigns as well as the advertising and marketing schemes of a company. Ad Analysis One can see all the techniques and strategies put into Apple by looking at one specific ad from a very popular campaign. This is the campaign that they have done with the immensely popular iPod. Yes, they have been successful with print ads in newspapers and magazines, but the one that was seen as the most familiar and recognizable by the surveys I took were the iPod commercials. By looking closely at a particular ad in this campaign, one can really gain a good understanding all the aspects of this popular iPod television commercial campaign. The one commercial from this campaign I am going to focus on presents the iPod shuffle. The first commercial for the iPod shuffle appeared in January of 2005 and featured the song “Jerk It Out” by the Caesars. Upon first glimpse of this advertisement on TV you can see that it represents many of the cultural values associated with hip, liveliness, fun, modern, etc. If someone was to look at this ad and relate it to cultural values one would say it would be that of “pop culture.”
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Consumers are now so obsessed with characteristics such as miniaturization and portability that this iPod ad is perfect. This ad also goes into another point talked about in the Walkman chapter because it gives people the image of choice. With this iPod, they are able to listen to what they want at any point in time. This creates that individualistic theme that is so prevalent in our popular culture today. At the end of the commercial the text “life is random” pops up in white letters contrasted with the bright green background. This is the only thing on the screen at the time so all the consumer’s attention is focused on this. Specifically looking at the ad, it opens up with a bright green background covering the whole screen. The figures in the commercial then begin to appear and all of them have just a black silhouette. It is extremely easy to see the people in the commercial because the black contrasts so well with the bright green. The characters in the commercial consist of both men and women so it appeals to both gender demographics. You see the figures dancing around listening to the white iPod shuffle that is easily seen among the green background. The iPod shuffle itself is hanging from a white lanyard which is an accessory that comes with the device upon purchase. With the song continually playing, the characters dance around these black arrows as if the arrows were a dance floor. The black arrows in the commercial represent the “shuffle” icon that Apple has created for the user who wants to shuffle or randomly select their songs. The arrows move in a clever way around the dancing characters and make it quite easy for the consumer to keep interest in the commercial. Everything is very fast paced and emphasizes the liveliness that this device can bring to those who buy it. These people are constantly dancing giving the image that they are having fun listening to their iPod. The theme of individualism is also prevalent in this particular ad by Apple. The various characters are all dancing by themselves, content
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listening to their music and having fun as an individual. This can be quite appealing to those that enjoy their space to themselves. But, at the same time it also shows that if you listen to this shuffle you can have fun and bring this fun to your friends and family or whoever you may be hanging out with. This is a very creative commercial that does a phenomenal job of appealing to all different demographics. It has both men and women in the commercial, portrays liveliness, individualism, and just an overall good time. It keeps the viewer attentive at all times by a catchy song and a constantly eye-grabbing color scheme. Apple seems to really know how to market a product through advertising campaigns and this really shows in their immense success in the consumer market. Conclusion The way that Apple has taken over the consumer world is quite remarkable. It all started with putting together a computer in a friend’s garage and now Apple is one of the most profitable companies in the world. Right from the get-go, Steve Jobs knew what it took to expand his company. He began marketing the product at conventions around the area and never looked back from there. Apple has become such an appealing company to people of all ages. Their marketing and advertising strategies are not targeted directly at a certain demographic; rather they are made to appeal to all of society. Whether it be an iPod or an iMac, people of all ages have some use for the product. The concept of lifestyle marketing and active consumerism is something that iPod has successfully integrated into its advertisements. They portray the image, mostly with the iPod, of liveliness, individualism, and just overall fun. They make the consumer interested in their product by showing them the freedom that it can give them. Their marketability also helps with the fact that they have a very positive image in the eyes of the public. With their involvement in
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“Product Red” and many other charity events, they have shown the public that they care about more than just the money. With this being said, Apple has a lot of power over the consumer. As said by Horkheimer and Adorno, they have the ability to condition the masses and get them to believe in their products and purchase them as a result. Apple has solidified itself as a company that will be successful for a long time to come. They have such a wide array of products that appeal to so many different demographics. The company has set them apart from many of the others and is truly the current “King Of Consumer Culture.”

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Works Cited
Adorno, W. Theodore (1991). Culture Industry Reconsidered. Popular Culture, 103108. Chester, Jeff. (2007). Digital Destiny. New Press. Greene, Thomas. Tricksters and Marketing of Breakfast Cereals. Retrieved February 21, 2005 from http://www.msu.edu/~tjpc/index.htm Fiske, John. Modernity and Mass Culture. Ed. James Naremore and Patrick Brantlinger. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University, 1991. Independent Media Center. Retrieved February 22, 2007 from http//www.indymedia.org More Americans turn to the internet for news about politics. Retrieved February 22, 2007 from http://www.pewinternet.org Newmark, Barry. (2007, March 14). Head Of Advertising Company. Personal Communication. Pacey, A. (1983). The culture of technology. Cambridge: MIT Press. Product Placement: Stealth Advertising. Retrieved February 22, 2007 from http://www.gizmag.com/go/4699 16

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