The answer to the protest marketing question


It took a week to learn that the “protest” that took place at the Apple store in australia was not from Samsung, nor a real protest as some thought, but a marketing stunt from RIM.

Yes RIM. How anyone would know is hard to say, other than their recent press release.

While the rules of marketing are indeed changing daily, it’s fair to say one important rule is to mention your brand, product, drop a hint, or leave a bread crumb.

The fact that RIM left their name off the protest is interesting in a couple ways.

First, it certainly increased the perception that the protest was real, thought finding this many people who felt this strongly against Apple is a bit hard to believe with Apple’s recent success and growth. (Over 50% of homes in the US now own at least one Apple device.)

Hard to believe, but not impossible.

How would the same protest and message have been received if they were in front of a Samsung store, or for that matter a RIM store. It can be difficult raising doubt about a stronger brand in such a “public” way.

There have certainly been real protests aimed at Apple for things such as the treatment of their employees at the time of new product releases, how green they are(n’t), and the issues at Foxconn. But in those cases, the message and messenger were clear and up front.

Secondly, it raises the question of the true objective – promote RIM or Apple. I’m not suggesting RIM wanted to promote Apple, but only Apple, (and Samsung who is also a RIM competitor) got any press or awareness out of the experience until now.

If the intent was to raise doubt about Apple or their products, a deeper conversation was certainly needed on differences in product features, price, brand attributes, or something.

The message “wake up”, (implying Apple buyers were missing out on something, being tricked, or not getting their money worth), seems the most ironic aspect. If anyone was missing out, being tricked, or not getting their money worth – it was RIM.

Chances are an agency (internal or external) was involved in the strategy, creation, or at the least implementation of the protest.

Would you take the assignment? What advise would you give? What do you think?


One comment

  1. I think that one or more people will (and should) lose their jobs.

    The first rule of marketing is that you advance the objective. The second (my bias is showing) is that there is some way to describe, define or measure the result… as in what did it accomplish, never mind ROI.

    What can I say, the phrase bonehead comes to mind. So does the idea of taking unnecessary risks… Unfortunately while located elsewhere, this is probably an excellent example of what we have to look forward to in November when the Super PACs unleash the hounds with no accountability. That will in all likelihood be a Janus Moment.