Monday, May 15, 2006

An Important Axiom

Seeing the latest phone by Nokia and Sony in the market one wonders do i really need dem?? well here is a perfect formula to decide.
The capacity of mobile networks in your country can be ascertained by the price of the phones available. Case in point, the market as well as the networks in India are in no position to support even 2G services hence the best sellers in India tend to be Black and White phones be it Nokia 3315 or Nokia 1100.
So next time you see the ad of Nokia N 91, check out its price in terms of your local currency, if the cost of that phone is equal to 200 - 300 times the minimun denomination practically used (in India Rs. 10) go ahead and buy it, your networks can support it!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Windows 95 Launch Campaign:

In 1995 Microsoft decided to replace its operating system DOS with Windows 95. The Windows OS was the successor of much hated Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1. Actually Windows 3.0 was supposed to be the last Windows version before Windows 95 was supposed to be launched. But the combined effects of Delay in Launch of Windows 95 (code named Memphis) and the solid amount of bugs in Windows 3.0 forced Microsoft to launch Windows 3.1 (later a minor upgrade 3.11).
Windows 95 had minimum system requirements of 486 processor and 8 MB RAM, also 640 MB HDD (amusing that was max available that time just 10 yrs back!), which was on the higher end. It promised an exciting change from the drab interface of DOS and as usual was hyped heavily by Microsoft.
Now this campaign had certain unique features. For the first time a software was being so heavily hyped and marketed so heavily. Microsoft had realized computers were no longer the dominion of geeks and general public had to be sucked in to increase the market. For the launch of Memphis in New York, Microsoft did not buy a cent of ad space in newspapers (much to despair of newspapermen), no TV time and not even a hoarding. Yet the launch was extensively covered. What Microsoft did was to hire the Empire State Building and paint it Read Blue and Black (with light at night of course!). Also to create the hype, Windows 95 was launched on Midnight. Stores selling Windows 95 were instructed to be open at 12 so that people could flock in. All these events are really eye catching and caught media’s imagination.
Across the Atlantic, the Gimmick of painting a landmark had been done (The Ministry Of Sound, a Disco in London, had had its logo displayed on the Houses of Parliament). Londoners next day only saw one headline on page 1 in a daily which read “Windows 95 launched”. What Microsoft had done was that they had made a deal with the newspaper to sell (actually distribute) the paper for free. Again very non conventional but very eye catching and something media loves to talk about.
The downside of the campaign was a major one. Never again Microsoft was able to market a new product on a very large scale. Everything which was done for Windows 95 was in the superlative. Anything after that would be a follow up on that campaign. This is disastrous for any company. Now at every launch every one expects Microsoft to do something bigger and better but Microsoft itself goes for (relatively speaking, otherwise also the launches are really big for a software whose first version is full of bugs!!) a low key launch because they also they can’t match the Windows 95 Launch.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Apple 1984 Ad

This ad has been talked about so much fully dissected and minutely analyzed. But still I will write about this one. I had read about this advertisement in Odyssey by the guy who threw out Steve Job as the CEO of Apple. This guy was wooed away from Pepsi by Steve Jobs but this guy ended up throwing out Jobs. Jobs had told him the famous words, “Do you want to spend your life selling sugared water or do you want to change the world?” This line was a killer and this guy (I think his name was John Sculley) came to Apple.
Cut to 1983, Apple was launching its killer computer to fight on PCs. Christened as Macintosh aka Mac, it promised good days ahead for Apple. Now these guys decided to make the launch big.
In the United States, the most watched sports event is the SuperBowl. These guys decided to introduce Mac to general public during SuperBowl 1984. They called their ad agency Chiat/Day and directed the agency to make the advertisement and spare no expense. This ad was to be directed by Ridely Scott, a hotshot Hollywood directed who had Alien and Bladerunner to his credit (and now Gladiator). Shot in London, this ad was the most expensive ever shot till that time.
Apple had originally bought one and a half minutes of air time for one and a half million dollars. When the senior management saw the ad, they directed the ad agency to sell the airtime. A buyer for 30 secs was found but no one bought the one minute time. Apple decided to go ahead with the ad.
It was shown to a large audience for the first time in October 1983, at Apple's annual sales conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Based on their initial reaction, Apple executives booked two slots during the upcoming Super Bowl. However, the Apple board of directors was dismayed by the ad and instructed management not to show it and sell the slots. Despite of the board's dislike of the film Steve Wozniak watched it and offered to pay for the spot personally if the board refused to air it.
A perhaps apocryphal story has Apple only able to sell one slot and then deciding that they might as well use the other and show the ad. It aired at the first commercial break after the second-half kick-off.
In reality, the reason the commercial was saved from total cancellation was the result of an act of defiance and an act of bravado.
The board hadn't demanded the commercial be killed, nonetheless Sculley asked Chiat/Day to sell back the one and one half minutes of Super Bowl television time that they had purchased. The original plan was to play the full-length, 60-second 1984 spot to catch everyone's attention, then hammer home the message during a subsequent commercial break with an additional airing of an edited 30-second version.
Defying Sculley's request, Jay Chiat told his media director, Camille Johnson, "Just sell off the thirty." Johnson laughed, thinking it would be impossible to sell any of the time at so late a date, but miraculously, she managed to find a buyer for the 30-second slot. That still left Apple with a 60-second slot for which it had paid $800,000.
The decision whether to run the commercial was left to VP of Marketing William V. Campbell and Executive VP of Marketing and Sales E. Floyd Kvamme. In the end, the two decided to run the commercial.
Ok now I have directly copied stuff fro website so that the people who haven’t seen the ad can appreciate it.
The camera opens on a corridor in a futuristic city. Heavily dressed males march in unison past surveillance cameras and computer screens. A blonde athlete, wearing red shorts and a white Apple Picasso t-shirt, runs towards us carrying a hammer. We now see that the men all have shaven heads. One wears a gas mask. Riot police run towards us, batons in hands.
We’ve been hearing a male voice coming through the public address system. And now we see Big Brother’s face - with two sets of glasses - on a huge wall-sized screen. “For today we celebrate the first, glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directive! We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths.”
“Our Unification of Thought is a more powerful weapon than any fleet or army on Earth! We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion!”
The athlete runs into the auditorium, pursued by the security troops. She swings the hammer round and round, releasing it to go flying into the screen. “We shall prevail!” The screen explodes. The seated skinheads mutely gaze at the explosion, mouths agape.
The text is displayed and spoken, “On January 24th Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984.” The ad finishes with the six-color Apple logo.
The ad was very topical and as well as strtegical. IBM was about to launch the new PCjr computer for the home market. The Apple Macintosh would be launched later in the month, surpassing the Apple II. This ‘teaser’ was designed to alert viewers to the new era in personal computers, long enough to stop them from investing in the IBM. The whole advertisement represented the capacity for the Apple color screen to outdo the monotone world of the IBM.
The 1984 theme comes from George Orwell’s novel, “1984″, originally written as an critique of Fascist government in the years after World War II. Orwell introduced the phrases, “Big Brother”, “thought police”, “two minutes hate” and “newspeak” and “telescreen”. The voice from the telescreen in the novel is expressed faithfully in the Apple ad. Apple, by providing an alternative operating system, was challenging IBM’s monopoly on the development of personal computers. As it is not very hard to imagine Big Brother was IBM.
This ad can be viewed and downloaded from the following link:

Enjoy and get hooked!

Just an update, the ad ran again recently but this time the female was wearing an iPOD!!