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Pair this with the news that plans for the Steve Jobs action figure have been abandoned by its creators (thank goodness), and it raises a question I’d like to throw out for debate: is Apple in danger of watering down its brand?
There’s no argument that part of Steve Jobs’ genius was his showmanship, and his understanding of what when into great marketing of a product to turn it into a mega-brand.
My perception of that genius has, at its core, the balance of an “exclusivity of brand” with a “there’s room for everyone” concept.
Jobs communicated that Apple products are special, and so the people who use them are special.
But admission to that club came – and still comes – at a price: whether it’s a $99 Apple TV or a $2,000 MacBook, you aren’t a full member of the tribe before you have one of those shiny new gadgets in your hand.
Even the process of purchsing my iPhone4S recently had an “induction” feel to it; I stood with a store employee who actually high-fived me once the phone was set up (or maybe I high-fived her?). That was a first.
Jobs balanced these two concepts well, so the thought of making Apple so ubiquitous that you can pick up an iPad3 two aisles down from the laundry detergent and dog biscuits seems odd to me.
Yes, Best Buy sells Apple products, but that seems right – it’s a personal electronics/gadget store. And so putting the MacBooks across from the gaming consoles and OLED TVs is more of a fit than alongside toothpaste and motor oil.
I’ll probably have to eat these words in a year or two, after the Target experiment has been crowned another stellar Apple success. But for now I’ll call it an unusual choice, and admit I’ll be watching this closely.
What do you think?