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Just a Thought - Advertise, Please!

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- April 29th, 2005

One of the biggest differences between Microsoft and Apple is not just the 90 + percent delta in the number of the world's desktops they can claim, nor the comparatively broad differences in perceived security of the operating systems either sells; no, the biggest difference, in my view, is the way Big Redmond advertises versus the way Apple doesn't.

I saw a really good Microsoft commercial the other day, and it really ticked me off at Apple. "Here it is, a week before the big release of Tiger," I ranted to my wife while gnawing on a pizza bone, " and I've not seen one commercial on TV that even mentions Apple; nothing in magazines or newspaper, nothing anywhere that is Apple related or technical, nothing!"

My wife, who knits like the wind (not an idle boast, she's really very good) and was concentrating on stitch counting, said, "Un huh. That's nice."

"I mean, at least they could advertise the hardware," I continued, " and show people what cool stuff they make. But NOooooOOOooooo! We get the occasional iPod commercial, and that's it! And even those are becoming scarce."

"It's a shame," my wife said, distractedly.

"Darn right, it's a shame! They go through the trouble of making great hardware, stellar software, and a system that often puts Big Redmond to shame, yet they tell no one outside the tech community about any of it. It's as if Jobs wants to keep Apple a big secret or something!"

"Yeah, Jobs, secret," my wife agreed.

I grabbed another slice of pizza and chewed it absently; I might have been eating cardboard for all I cared, I was mulling over the whys of Apple's seeming reluctance to tell the world just how great its products are when another commercial came on, this one was for a nickel! That's right, a commercial for a five cent piece!

Here it was, our government felt strongly enough about its new 2005 Westward Journey nickel series that it wanted to make sure folks knew about it. Why? Because if people know you have something cool they just might buy it. Gee, what a concept!

That really got my hackles up.

"You see that," I asked my wife and pointing at the TV? "Even the government can advertise a nickel -a friggin nickel, fer cryin' out loud- and Apple can't hawk a Mac or OS X."

My wife looked up and asked, "How much did they want for the nickels?"

Now, I have to believe that Steve Jobs likes the company he helped create, the computer he helped create, and the OS he helped create, so why doesn't the man advertise them?

I would be happy with an occasional artsy ad where they show nothing but the Apple logo and have some guy do a voice over where he reads one of the switch stories. Simple, neat, clean, and it keeps the logo fresh in people's minds.

Yeah, sure, the iPod has done an admirable job of getting the Apple logo out into the public psyche (where it should have been 10 years ago, if you ask me), but the little-player-that-could can't carry Apple's entire advertising campaign on its little shoulders. And Jobs shouldn't ask it to.

The solution is simple, in my not-so-humble opinion: Toss some money at TWBA-Chiat-Day, and get them to come up with an ad campaign, then use it.

Adhering steadfastly to that movie cliché, "If you build it, they will come," only works so far in the real world. Here, that saying should be, " If you build it, then advertise the hell out of it, they will come."

So, Steve -Mr. Jobs, sir- I know you don't know me from Adam, and you likely could care less about my fascination with all things Apple, and I doubt you have the time to entertain every suggestions from comparative nobodies, and I'm sure you've got your own reasons for keeping the advertising floodgates locked, but Dude, just a little ad every so often wouldn't hurt, would it?

Just a little teeny, weenie one in a prime spot, just to remind people that you are still there, still cool, and still relevant, and you've got more to sell than iPods.

You never know, you just might sell a few extra Macs. Wouldn't that be nice?

is a writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. He's been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.

You can send your comments directly to me, or you can also post your comments below.

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