The iPhone and the social media campaign

Essay, 2009

18 Pages, Grade: 1.2



Nick Birch 2009


Mobile phones are a product that are easy to sell as they are intrinsic to our modern lives, however at the same time it is increasingly difficult to sell one particular handset due to the complete and utter saturation of handsets already on the market. For any kind of handset to procure a foothold, let alone a decent market share, is an enormous challenge for any manufacturer. Apple’s campaign to introduce the iPhone, which is a device that combines a mobile phone, iPod, email and internet browsing capabilities, may be the most successful marketing effort ever (Koeppel, 2007). The ongoing campaign to market the iPhone may be measured by theoretical marketing tools such as AIDA and Maslow’s model of Human Motivation to observe and understand its varying successes. The real success however, lies in Apple’s customer knowledge and manipulation of social media to allow others to do the work for them.


Around 90 years ago, the mnemonic AIDA was created to describe what communications must achieve for a sale or change to occur.

Attention is about getting noticed. This can be achieved through a range of strategies, such as surprise, humour, intrigue, energy or controversy.

Interest. Having gained attention, the next step is to arouse interest in a product, company or service.

Desire. When a person has become interested, the next stage in the journey is creating desire. Desire will be driven by a person's own motivations and needs. Desire is the precursor to action.

Action. The ultimate goal of communication is for a person to 'act': to change their behaviour, buy the book or come to the show. ( Australia Council, 2004).


In 1954, US psychologist Abraham Harold Maslow proposed his Model of Human Motivation based on five levels of need (Business Dictionary, n.a.):

Fulfilment needs

Esteem needs

Social needs

Safety needs

Physiological needs

This model is used in the marketing of a product as a means to develop promotional campaigns according to the perceived needs of a market segment (Business Dictionary, n.a.).

The bottom level and most basic of human needs are physiological, the need to survive and reproduce, and then safety or security and so forth. The underlying theory is that one of these needs must be met before a person can advance to the next (Business Dictionary, n.a). As a product, the iPhone has little appeal physiological needs; although as a mobile phone the device could be construed at a stretch as appealing to human safety needs by its ability to make emergency calls. Some features of the iPhone may even appeal further such as the compass application and Google Maps in terms of security, though most other applications are more likely to appeal to the top level of need – fulfilment (or in a broader sense, entertainment).

Returning to the AIDA model, Apple did surprisingly little as far as gaining attention, which is fundamentally different from gaining interest. Apple first created a revolutionary product that could do much more than anything else on the market. It was not the first phone to have touchscreen, nor was it the first to access the web, though it was hailed as ground breaking and ‘widely regarded by those who have used it as a major breakthrough for portable video, music, internet and telephony – all in one compact device’ (Garnham, 2007). Apple successfully created an enormous amount of buzz by giving the iPhone very little attention through a highly effective teaser campaign (Koeppel, 2007).


Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the iPhone during his Macworld 2007 keynote in San Francisco. (German, 2007). Apple then ran video clips on the Internet and a ‘breakthrough TV commercial that ran during the Academy Awards called “Hello” with stars like Marilyn Monroe saying “Hello” to announce the release in June’ (Koeppel, 2007).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Image: (myofferpal, 2009)

Subsequently three commercials were released showing close-up shots demonstrating what people can do on the phone. Apple spent around $100 million on advertising, which is not deemed a very large amount in comparison to similar products (Koeppel, 2007).

All three commercials put the attention onto the iPhone itself — we don’t learn anything about the person operating the device. The voice-over is also very sparse, letting the iPhone’s multi-touch and graphical interface largely speak for itself... Overall, the campaign seems to be emphasizing the rich user experience and plays on the iPhone’s Internet and multimedia functionality — an area where Apple clearly feels the device trumps its competitors — with a constant theme being that the iPhone just happens to make calls too.’ (O’Hear, 2007).

None of the advertising focused on technical specifications or speeds, recognising that the general population were disinterested in all the jargon. ‘Apple isn't going after the current smartphone market of business users. It's focusing on regular people who probably don't own a smartphone by emphasising that the iPhone is a music player, a pocket-size Internet access device, and a phone’ (Krazit, 2007). Owning an iPod, for example, isn’t just about having some functional device. Apple has created a PIECE OF CULTURE. Having an iPod makes you cool... the iPhone will be no different. Apple is a master at creating ‘cool’ products.’ (Reese, 2007). Having a “cool” product certainly satiates Maslow’s esteem need, delineated as the yearning to be respected and to have status (Business Dictionary, n.a). Concurrently, this also demonstrates the desire phase of the AIDA model. Avoiding the technicalities in favour of ‘slick videos that highlight the way an iPhone user checks voice mail, watches videos or browses the Internet’ (Krazit, 2007) opened up a much wider market. Perhaps the benefit of their highly successful previous product contributed to Apple’s aptitude for defining the iPhone’s key selling point, knowing that a ‘key selling point will appeal to the greatest number of people in [their] potential audience’ (Australia Council, 2004). Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg believes that ‘it's easy to get the tech enthusiasts to line up, but the mass market consumer, that's another story’ (Krazit, 2007).


Excerpt out of 18 pages


The iPhone and the social media campaign
Central Queensland University
Media Relations in Arts Administration
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
723 KB
Grade has been converted from Australian (28/30) to German (1.2)
Nick Birch, Media Relations, Arts Administration, Social Media Campaign, iPhone, Creative Enterprise
Quote paper
Nick Birch (Author), 2009, The iPhone and the social media campaign, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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