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A Closer Look At Iceland's "Switch" Campaign

A Closer Look At Iceland's "Switch" Campaign

by , 8:00 AM EST, December 2nd, 2002

After the US and Japan, it seems that is now Iceland's turn to get a "Switch" campaign. Yes, you read that right: Iceland. As with the other Switch campaigns, the new Icelandic commercials are a mix of testimonials from celebrities and everyday Mac users, extolling the virtues of the Macintosh over life with the Dark Side. There's a TV host, a musician, a DJ and a former PC geek. The most well-known of the Icelandic switchers is likely to be Einar Örn Benediktsson. Einar Örn was a member of Björk's former band, the Sugarcubes, and is still very busy in the Icelandic music scene.

Many Observers would be excused for thinking that France, Germany or the U.K would have been a better choice for a Switch campaign, but this doesn't take into account Iceland's special position in the Mac universe. It also doesn't take into account Iceland's culture, and the dedication of an Apple reseller, because technically, these are not even real Apple commercials. They are an initiative on the part of Aco-Teknival, Apple's Icelandic reseller.

When contacted, an Apple spokesperson told The Mac Observer that these ads were "definitely not Apple's," adding that all of Apple's "real" commercials were available from the Switch Web-site.

Iceland, a country of only 300,000, has a much higher percentage of Mac users than the rest of Europe. Apple has 10% market-share in Iceland, much higher than in the States. In fact, according to an article on Macs in Iceland by print magazine Mac Directory, the only country where Apple does better is Switzerland.

Other tidbits on Iceland from the article: Icelanders love technology, and the country is one of the most Internet-savvy nations in the world. It has the highest ratio of cell phone users, 78%, in the world. Technology allows Icelanders, who tend to live quite isolated, to stay in touch. People see technology as a way to communicate, and to express themselves, both of which correspond nicely with Apple's "digital hub" strategy.

Additionally, and more importantly, Icelanders are very proud of their culture and language. Icelandic has remained essentially the same since the 11th century and has lots of special written characters. Apple has taken note of this and has long had Icelandic versions of the Mac OS. Microsoft, on the other hand, refuses to produce an Icelandic version of Windows. Big Redmond even refused when Iceland's government offered to pay for the work. This only serves to further strengthen the Apple brand in Iceland.

Until recently, you could find a QuickTime movie of Einar Örn Benediktsson's Switch commercial hosted on an Icelandic Web site, but it appears to have been taken down. The other Icelandic Switch ads have also disappeared since they first began circulating.

While there is an Apple Iceland site, "Apple Iceland" as such doesn't really exist. As mentioned above, the commercials were made for Aco-Teknival in Iceland. The Icelandic Switch campaigns are a local gig, not part of a big, Apple-led strategy.

TMO offers a regular round-up of Apple-related news from Europe, courtesy of the editor of our European Desk, Tom Terryn.

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