Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Infomercials

I suffer from frequent insomnia. Sometimes I just don't sleep at all—sometimes I spring awake at 4:00am and can't get back to sleep. Times like these I flick on the TV and scan the channels; on two or three channels there are a constant stream of infomercials. They're usually for food processors or workout equipment, and they're usually pretty poor. You've seen one—you've seen them all.

But, say what you like about them, they must be effective. Otherwise they wouldn't be such a fixture. And this got me to thinking.

What if there were a regular Apple infomercial? But being Apple it wouldn't follow the normal format. What if it was full of really useful information for existing Apple users:

  • This week we're going to talk about using iPhoto in conjunction with online services
  • This week we're going to explore the power of Smart Folders
  • This week we're going to look at keyboard shortcuts as well as Automator...

Naturally these shows (which you'd Tivo or tape) would have regular callouts where they'd say: "If you don't already have a Mac then call XYZ or visit apple.com"

Non-Mac users might be intrigued enough to say: "No way can my machine do that," or, "Mmm. I could always get the mini and give it a try..."

With re-packaging, some of these segments could be supplied on a DVD with every new Mac. If they were really classy then Mac owners would loan them to their non-Mac friends.

There's more to marketing than buzz generation and glimpses; detailed stuff does sink in. Everyone, when pressed, will admit to knowing about the Miracle Knife set, or Gunner Whatsisname's exercise ball.

Why not apply the infomercial to an operating system?

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