Negative Advertising Is for Losers

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-07-26 Print this article Print


5. Let it go away 

It's time to just let the antenna issue go away organically. Apple needs to take a step back and realize that it has experienced bigger problems than this in the past. And every time, those issues seemed to go away after the company started ignoring them. Why it hasn't quietly tried to just allow the issue to fade into the background is anyone's guess. Yes, there is a problem. Yes, Apple has come up with a semi-fix. And yes, the competition might have the same issue. Now it's time to move on and deliver better products. By focusing so much of its time on the antenna issue, Apple is making it bigger than it has to be. It's time to get back to selling more iPhones. 

6. It's not the same 

Try as it might to prove that the competition has the same antenna issue as the iPhone 4, it's not working. The savvy consumer and enterprise customer knows that the issues are not alike. After all, if the BlackBerry Bold, which is an extremely successful product, had the same issues as the iPhone 4, it would have been big news when it launched. The same can be said for the Droid X. But those alleged problems never came to light. And most folks who use those products don't report significant antenna issues. So, while those problems might be present, they're not as obvious. Apple should keep that in mind the next time it tries to target a competitor. 

7. Positivity works better 

If Apple has learned anything from its marketing efforts over the past decade, it's that showing positive, fun, and informative ads is far more beneficial to its brand than focusing so much of its time detailing the competition's shortcomings. In many ways, marketing is like politics. The candidate that's behind does the dirt-digging, while the candidate who is ahead shows positivity. Apple is ahead. Why is it even considering focusing on the negative? 

8. It's Microsoft-esque 

The last thing Apple wants to become, especially now that it's the industry's most valuable company, is like Microsoft. Not only would that ostracize its core following, but it would also hurt the company's chances of competing in the market as consumers look for other alternatives. Yet, by being so negative, Apple is looking more and more like Microsoft by the day. Apple has spent years trying to prove that its better in every way than Microsoft. Why would the company give all that back for the sake of an iPhone antenna? 

9. The ego can be dangerous 

Apple has an ego that it needs to keep in check right now. In some cases, the company's swagger has proven beneficial by making its fans believe that its products are better than any other company's. But right now, that ego is hurting Apple. It is too concerned with the way things look, and not concerned enough with the quality of its product. Rather than focus its efforts on the competition, Apple needs to put that ego to good use and start proving that even though the iPhone 4 has an antenna problem, it's a small issue compared to the benefits of using it. Not only would such a move change the dialogue on the device, but it would put Apple back into its comfort zone. 

10. Sales will decline 

Make no mistake that the longer Apple makes consumers think about the iPhone 4's antenna issues, the worse it will be for the company's bottom line. Yes, Apple might have posted its biggest revenue gains in history. But as it continues to fail to show consumers why they should want the new iPhone, the company is only hurting itself. Going forward, it will need to shift strategies, get away from the antenna, and start talking about the benefits of owning an iPhone 4. If it doesn't, sales will definitely decline. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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