Say, friend, have you heard the good news about Apple? Turns out it’s a religion.
Writing for The Atlantic, Derek Thompson takes us to school. Sunday school.
“Turning Customers Into Cultists”
In the third week of September, thousands of people organized themselves into neat lines that snaked along the city blocks of New York, Seattle, London, and dozens of other cities around the world. Sleeping in cardboard boxes, or keeping wakeful vigil through the night, they were participants in a biennial ritual: waiting in line to buy the new iPhone.
You know who else had rituals?
What, who did you think the Macalope was talking about?
Also, isn’t it an annual tradition? Like the running of the bulls or return of the swallows to Capistrano or these dumb pieces about how Apple’s a religion. Actually, those are more like bimonthly. In both definitions because they appear twice a month and also every other month.
…the iPhone isn’t just another phone, and Apple isn’t just another phone manufacturer. It’s a brand with a cult following, whose new products inspire sane people to squat for hours outside the nearest Apple store like Wiccans worshipping before Stonehenge.
Thompson appears unaware that you can order iPhones online these days. You know who lines up for iPhones now? It’s mostly people who are trying to get interviewed because they’re selling something or people who are trying to avoid getting interviewed because they’re paying cash for the phones and reselling them at a profit. Thompson either doesn’t know this or conveniently ignores it to press the “APPLE IS A RELIGION” hot button which, to be fair, is sooo hot you just gotta push it. Mmmm.
What is a brand, anyway?
IT’S A HATE CRIME AGAINST COWS, THAT’S WHAT IT IS.
Sorry. Sorry. It’s, uh, a ruminant thing. The Macalope has a lot of friends who are cows, is all.
It’s not weird.
The word seems gaseous in its ability to expand or contract to fill any space.
Also like a gas in that it’s kind of smelly and gross.
Thompson goes on about other brands because, you know the drill. Always lead with Apple.
Cults like the Moonies are built on the paradox that we feel most like ourselves when we’re part of a group, says Douglas Atkin, the global head of community at the room-sharing company Airbnb, and the author of the 2004 book The Culting of Brands.
Soooo, let’s see where we started. We started with a fundamental misunderstanding about who lines up for iPhones and now we’re comparing companies that make physical products that people like to use and that provide value with the Moonies.
But companies like Apple show that the creation of a cult mentality can be just as powerful with customers of regular goods—even products that have grown so popular, they would seem to be poor markers of individuality or special identity.
Making good devices is hard. It seems like magic to some people. You can either try explaining it with science or astrology. Guess which one the Macalope thinks declaring Apple a religion is.