During the past few years, Apple has transformed itself from the days of the Apple II to being a hip, cool, and design-friendly brand. Part of this success was predicated from their strong branding messaging as shown with the iPod advertising campaigns.
This article by prominent blogger, Eric Karjaluoto, discusses the flaw in Apple’s latest advertising strategy. Mr. Karjaluoto had made reference about Apple once being and acting like the brand challenger (especially during the iPod advertising campaigns), and because it has grown significantly, it is maybe a stretch to still view Apple as a brand challenger. Microsoft due to its ineffectual ads has been criticized for not being able to relate to its customers. It is a brand leader and certainly acts like one due to its slow reactions to market trends.
In the book “Eating the Big Fish” by Adam Morgan, it discusses how brands need to think and act like the challenger brand. Symptomatic of the brand leader mantra, brands become complacent. The latest Mac vs PC ads from Apple seem to reflect Apple acting like the brand leader, and not playing to its strengths, and Microsoft is able to capitalize on this mistake and act as a Brand Challenger to combat this. Mr. Karjaluoto’s article showed several examples of Apple and Microsoft ads.
I agree with the analysis of the article that Apple’s advertising strategy should focus on their brand strength – its sleek designs and user friendly interface. Here is an example of an ad I think is effective for Apple: