Does anybody remember when Apple first unveiled its tablet computer in 1993? Loaded with an ARM6 processor and a stylus-stick, the Newton MessagePad 100 went all-in on the importance of handwriting. It’s the best way of getting out your ideas, the product ad said: “The most natural way to get your thoughts down is to jot or to sketch.”
But advertising in technology moves at light speed. We may not always forgive — Zune? — but consumers and technology can tend to forget. Flash forward a few decades and who would have thought then; Apple holds a choke grip over the tablet market. As of October, Steve jobs’s vision is used by 52-percent of all tablet users. The word “iPad” has become synonymous with the tablet industry as a whole.
Microsoft began shipping its new Surface tablet at the end of last month with a advertisement campaign that tries not to repeat Newton’s failure. Instead of focusing solely on feature, the fact that Surface has a “click on” keyboard cover is blurred in brand awareness — by a dancing troupe of preppy college kids, business men in black suits and girl scouts.
It’s fun and simple. But is it enough?
If we can all use a tablet with touch capabilities, do we need a “click on” keyboard like we needed a stylus? The ad uses the sound of that click to create an illusion that technology is simple. It’s not. When it comes to winning the tablet war, the winning message looks as if its leaning towards human narratives.
Just last year, Apple held an 81-percent choke on the market. That’s down 29-percent now with the release of Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire. And the reason they’re chipping away must have some credence with their brand message.
Mullen, the ad agency for the Nexus 7, showcases the device not as a tech marvel but a staple between the future and the harmony of everyday life. In its commercial, you see a boy and his father in the neck of the woods. The tablet doesn’t get in their way, but enhances the experience of playing in the backyard.
The Kindle used a stop-motion commercial where the device looks least important compared to the human stories it can hold. Barnes & Nobles’ Nook is a brilliant example of a commercial that shows how a tablet can enhance your personal interests, rather than focusing on its specs.
Because we all inherently know, technology comes and goes.