Time to Take Off the Switcher Gloves
Stephen Van Esch - 2002.12.18
Like .mac, however, Apple seems to be letting the full potential of the Switch campaign go unrealized. The switchers have definitely made an impression on a large number of people. Ellen Feiss has gone on to become a cult celebrity. Apple's marketing company has undoubtedly gone out of its way to choose people others can identify with. That kind of marketing is immensely powerful if handled correctly.
Take, for example, the Apple Switch page. On it you can read letters, view the commercials, and learn about switching to the Mac. It's all useful information. However, I'm certain that there are people who are considering switching who would just love to post a message to one of the switchers in the commercials - maybe get a small dialog going and earn more about their switching experience.
This would be invaluable to switchers. Of course, they can't be hanging around the message boards all day long answering questions, but an online event of some kind that would connect switchers to potential switchers would create even more down-to-earth credibility that could do nothing but increase awareness of Apple and its products.
Take Feiss, for example. Internet users stampeded to read her first interview some weeks ago. That traffic could have been Apple's - if they had given Feiss the chance to speak her mind on the Apple site. Of course, Feiss may have declined, but if she has accepted, what a coup!
My point is that Apple is failing to use the Internet to maximize the quasi-celebrity switchers in the commercials. Again, most switchers have real jobs that wouldn't permit them to hand around message boards or answer hundreds of emails.
There are, however, ways around this. For example, Apple could solicit questions for each switcher, pare them down to the ten best, and send the questions along. Slashdot uses this system for their celebrity interviews to great effect. This system would allow Apple to control the dialog to a certain extent - and probably save the switchers from having to answer inane questions ("We're you doped up, Ellen?"). In addition, potential switchers could connect with real switchers in a very real manner.
What do you think of this idea, Apple?
Stephen Van Esch is the founder and president of the E-learning Foundry, an online training resource for Mac users. Steve loves the Mac and is doubly bilingual, since he's also fluent in Windows and French.
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