How’s this for a sales pitch:
You’re an ignoramus.
Give us money!
My guess it that the folks running SanDisk’s
ad campaign would take issue with my characterization of their work, so let me run it by you. First the background.
SanDisk makes another me-too flash-based music player called the
Sansa e200, available in 2, 4, and 6GB flavors for $179, $229, and $279 respectively. Like the iPod nano, which appears to be their inspiration, these players include play controls arrayed around a central scroll wheel, a color screen that can display pictures you load onto the player, and play protected and unprotected content. Unlike the nano, the Sansa players include a replaceable Lithium Ion battery, offer a proprietary expansion slot for adding memory capacity, let you play converted video files, pack in an FM tuner, and offer low-bitrate radio and voice recording.
The 6GB version is just $20 less than a 30GB 5G iPod and none of the Sansa players offer the kind of intuitive software/hardware integration that you find in the iTunes/iPod relationship. But users will surely find a way to transfer music via Windows Media Player 10 (you can also drag and drop music onto the player) and convert their pictures and movies with the bundled Sansa Media Converter software.
So cool, a kind-of-expensive flash-player that boasts some welcome features not found on the iPod. You’d think talking up the specs would be enough.
Instead, we get the iDon’t website that urges all “free thinkers, contrarians, and malcontents” to “rise up against the iTatorship.” We are told that it’s “time to break-free from restrictive formats and a single source for music.”
This, accompanied by the image of a sheep wearing white earbuds.
Let’s put aside for the moment that appealing to the dozen high school kids who don black trench-coats and sport black eyeliner isn’t likely to do much for your bottom line and the fact that the protected-WMA format is just as restrictive as protected-AAC (and, okay, that Napster was handed its ass over the “Do The Math” Super Bowl commercials that falsely suggested that iPods could be loaded only with music purchased from the iTunes Music Store).
Instead, let’s look at the underlying message.
You’re an ignoramus [for ever buying/thinking of buying an iPod].
Give us money!
This approach might work if:
1. Apple had sold a bare handful of iPods.
2. A goodly portion of the jillion or so iPods sold spontaneously melted, their magmatic remains bore into the earth’s mantel, and countless sulphur-spewing volcanoes sprouted in their place like so many adolescent pimples.
3. Consumers really liked being compared to sheep.
Except, of course, that:
On the other hand, if you subscribe to the theory that no publicity is bad, the iDon’t campaign may be a success. It’s generated multiple messages and blogs marveling at its stupidity.
I tend to agree.
But what do I know?