2:57PM September 18 2014

What’s the point of the Apple Watch?

Apple are the masters of product launches, we all know that. Every few years they redefine or even create a new category. But last week, something weird happened to me when they launched the Apple Watch. I really didn’t see the point of it. Now, I’m about as big an Apple fanboy as you can get. But, there was something about the Apple Watch that left me cold. So I went back and looked at other Apple product launches to see if I could identify an anomaly, and I did. And yes, there is a big charisma vacuum that used to be occupied by Steve Jobs, but it’s not just that. When you look back at how Apple has launched big products in the past, they always gave you a strong, compelling reason for the thing to exist. Whether that’s solving a problem we’ve all just put up with or dramatically enhancing our experience, or both. Here’s a whistle stop tour:

iPod – Why put up with your crappy discman when you can have 1,000 songs in your pocket?

iPhone – The smartest and easiest to use phone in the world. No fiddly buttons, just power at your fingertips.

iPad – Better than a phone or a laptop for browsing and looking at content.

Apple Watch – The most personal device we’ve ever invented.

Er, the most personal device we’ve ever invented? What does that mean? Then you get the usual Jony Ive narrated gadget porn video. But listening to him talk about the watch’s accuracy like they’ve split the bloody atom is hilarious. We cracked accurate time-keeping a long time ago Jony. But for me, the fatal flaw is that Apple have fallen in love with their own genius. It’s all about the tech and how clever they are but I have no idea why I’d want one. And there are probably some brilliant reasons why I should want one; the health sensors seem pretty cool and I can see how having something that can actually monitor my wellbeing would be handy. But other than that, it doesn’t do anything better than my phone. And I actually need my phone with me for the thing to work. And as for the watch bit of it, well I love watches and have a few. They’re a personal statement of taste. The Apple Watch isn’t striking or beautiful enough to compete with a traditional watch as a statement.

So, it’s not better than a phone for apps and it’s not better than a watch at being a watch.

For me, Apple haven’t communicated the reason this device should live in my world. They haven’t told me what problem it solves or how it’s dramatically better than something else, which they’ve always done before. I don’t know if this is a flaw in the product or the launch. And I’m pretty sure they’ll sell shedloads, at the beginning, and when I get my mitts on one my very next decision will be which kidney to sell to afford it. But, right now, I don’t want one because I don’t know what it’s for.

Martin Flavin
Creative Director

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Image Source – Wikimedia – bit.ly/1tnn62J

4:05PM August 15 2014

The Flyering Scotsmen

If you’ve ever been to the Edinburgh Festival, or even just in the city in August, there’s one word that’ll send a chill twice as frosty as a Scottish summer down your spine. Flyers. You get onto the Royal Mile and a colourful chap dressed as some form of mythical character will sashay towards you and thrust a flyer for his show your way. You smile, thank him and take it. By the time you’ve got to the castle you look like you’ve been tarred and feathered. Flyers, moulting from you like you’re a glossy paper based Wookie. Once you adapt to avoiding this though, you can marvel at the largest arts festival in the world.

Marketers are also given an extra bonus once they’ve stepped back for a second from the top of the Royal Mile to take a look at what’s going on beneath them.

There’s a scene in The Warriors, where all the gangs of the city meet to discuss a truce. There are thousands of weird and wacky looking individuals dressed in all sorts of colourful outfits all crammed into a tiny space. The very same happens in Edinburgh at festival time.

It struck me during my time there this year that the world’s largest arts festival allowed me to watch marketing in its rawest form. Boots on the ground, face to face, take a leaflet, pay attention to me marketing. The range of marketing experience will vary from none at all and a one-man operation promoting his own show, to a paid army of scripted professional comedy chuggers handing out expertly designed leaflets for comedy legends. Like the launch of a brand, product or title – and as pointed out by our Creative Director Martin – in possibly the most cluttered marketplace of all (for 1 month a year), each show at Edinburgh needs to quickly establish its reason to exist.

It’s like you’re David Attenborough surveying a whole load of different animals co-existing in nature. Beautiful, yet slightly terrifying when you realise your next venue is at the bottom of the hill.

Johnny Moran
Business Development and Marketing Coordinator

Edinburgh2

4:23PM August 7 2014

Horrible histories

A regular challenge working on a launch tends to be taking something complex – an experience, system, process, message – and breaking it down to build it into an engaging intuitive experience for the target audience.

So how would you approach a brief to teach a group of 6-13 year old kids about history so that they actually remember the facts and continue to be interested in the subject? As a team you probably would have come up with a few ideas of how to meet the brief and subsequently the goals and requirements of stakeholders and users. Imagine the conversation with the client to choose between the ‘safe option’, something like a cartoon style comic book explaining the various moments in history, and then presenting this…….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fowKS6LPQUI

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you Horrible Histories. For me, there is no greater example of how to take a complex slightly dull topic and communicate it in an engaging and memorable way to the target user group. Half the battle is to come up with the bold ideas, but it takes a brave team to own the idea and push it through to the end.

“It is not your customer’s job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.”
Luke Wroblewski

Sarah Herbert
User Experience Architect

 

horrible histories

Image source:  Horrible-Histories.co.uk