Being Apple

I’ve been using Apple computers since 1984, when the company was in the shadow of IBM. That we were part of a cult was an in-joke that sustained the first generation of users in the face of the dullards who lectured us about how these Macs ‘would never catch on’.

Now Apple is the most lucrative of brands, the idea that it is a cult is not quite so amusing.

Consider:

Apple Retail. This 5:40 video sets out the philosophy behind the design of Apple’s retail stores. Ron Johnson is its principal narrator. [He’s since departed Apple for J.C. Penney.]

The video seems to have been made for Apple employees. The cult-like fervour of some of the retail employees who work in these temples of consumerism is likely to disturb anyone else (one would hope). You watch and see.

Design: Here is another video about what Apple thinks it is like to work at their top secret headquarters in Cupertino, California, where all are sworn to secrecy. It is, we are told, a recruiting video.

Here’s another one. They all look happy enough. Disturbingly so. We must assume they have found an agreeable work/life balance.

The quasi-religous fervour Apple elicits has attracted the attention of even the staid Forbes, see its explanation of ‘the religious fervour around Apple and Steve Jobs‘. See also the Guardian’s The deification of Steve Jobs is Apple’s greatest marketing triumph to date.

Production: Before we get carried away, consider some other reasons for Apple’s remarkable profitability, Apple’s sweatshop supply chain. The UK’s Daily Mail concurs. Not a lot of high-fiving in Apple’s suppliers’ factories.

Pulling it all together and bringing us down to earth is Naomi Klein on How Corporate Branding has taken over America.

But it is too late.

Now we are all riveted to a computer screen of one kind or another. We look at a screen, not so much at each other. Our body is stationary, but our mind is somewhere else. This is a way of numbing feelings through distraction, not feeling them.

These days, the brand has emotional energy. We don’t consume the brand, the brand consumes us.

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