Apple has taken a distinctly different tack on iPhone X marketing this year and it really speaks to the ongoing changes in media and marketing. For the newest iPhone, Apple only gave early review units to a pretty select few in the traditional media and gave them the units much closer to release time than usual. This gave them much less time for an in-depth review. Apple did provide more units than usual to YouTube reviewers and certain select celebrities. For a company that has mostly shunned social media, I think this was a pretty shrewd move by Apple.
The way it used to work is people form their opinions and make a buying decision based on reading trusted reviews of technology from the mainstream press. These guys are professionals who put the technology through rigorous testing. But as cell phones, in particular, have become so similar, there is really not as much difference between them anymore. They all have fast processors and great screens.
The other major change, of course, is the fact that the power center has changed with social media. Brands and traditional media outlets don’t have the control they used to. People now make buying decisions based on what their friends like, and their friends now include their wider social media network. Certain YouTube creators become mini-celebrities and power centers in themselves and hold greater sway than the traditional media. This is what Apple has realized into and is counting on. Apple also targeted particular celebrities that they know connect with specific audience targets they are looking to reach. Celebrity endorsements have always been powerful and it still holds true today. It works especially for Apple as the iPhone is seen as much as a fashion accessory as a piece of technology.
Apple has always been a pretty conservative company that sticks to its own small, trusted circle of tech reviewers, until now. It’s a bold new step to embrace YouTube personalities but one I think will pay off for Apple. WE are the media and more often WE are also the marketing department.
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