Apple’s best sales technicians and PR pros on the market are its own customers

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

For all of you who’ve been waiting on bated breath, you can release it now. This post is a continuation of my last, explaining Apple’s marketing models.

I discussed how Apple rarely advertises, although they spent $97.5 million on iPhone ads in the U.S. in 2008. Despite that, have you ever seen an Apple commercial?

No, you haven’t. Because Apple doesn’t subscribe to traditional advertising norms. The tech giant relies on two models to rake in revenues:

  • Product placement
  • Riding the hype

Maybe you’ve seen the Modern Family episode where Phil Dunphy dreams about the iPad:

The iPad comes out on my actual birthday. It’s like God and Steve Jobs got together and said, “We love you, Phil.”

Phil’s Apple passion isn’t a coincidence, and nor does it reflect the screenwriter’s preference for tech gadgets. Apple paid for that product placement, and it probably paid through the roof.

Hugh Laurie uses an iPhone in the popular TV show House

Hugh Laurie sports an iPhone in the popular TV show House

Their second strategy, which is successful beyond precedent, is creating an air of secrecy surrounding its products before they’re released. Catherine Kaputa has some great insights in her post:

  • Apple announced a press conference last year for September 2012–months beforehand, which kindled a huge buzz and sparked dozens of speculations
  • They create the illusion of scarcity to increase demand

Apple builds on public’s hype

Ever noticed how all the iPhones are out of stock weeks before their release date? Phones have to be pre-ordered months beforehand, without the customer getting to test the phone first. What, they couldn’t put a colossal order into China to have extra phones manufactured before release? Of course they could have.

But this is a classic persuasion tactic–the idea that products are “flying off the shelves”–but Apple has mastered it beyond those infomercial announcers who claim you better “Call now, before they’re gone.” The company sits back and lets the consumers create the illusion of scarcity, all on their own.

Who’s really in control?

And Apple’s forums such as macworld don’t hurt either: tech geeks, Apple-lovers and ordinary citizens converge on the site to discuss the ‘next big thing’ for the company and offer advice to technologically slow patrons. Macworld results appear in various Google searches and offer an online space for techies, luring them in to Apple’s wonderful world.

There’s no denying that Apple’s products are revolutionary and debatably the best on the market, but when the company makes one small marketing or PR move, us products of mass culture fall blindly to Apple’s silent commands and work ourselves into a collective hyped frenzy.