Apple iPad Advertising: 35% Superlative Garbage
When a company uses prescription-level hyperbole to advertise a product, something stinks. When it comes to the iPad, Apple veered off its usual course of clever, benefits-oriented language into a merry-go-round of obfuscating candy words.
This is Apple’s tagline for the new iPad.
The first thing that struck me was the utter inanity of the copywriting. Usually Apple has clever, refined, targeted, punchy messages around new products (“5,000 Songs in Your Pocket”). But this is flabby, desperate. It offers no insight into what the device does, or how it benefits the consumer — it’s just a string of empty hyperbole.
Count the Superlatives
According to Apple, this device is “the most advanced”, “magical”, “revolutionary” and “unbelievable”. 35% of the tagline is taken up by over-the-top adjectives.
Elsewhere on the iPad section of Apple’s site, we find “beautiful”, “remarkable”, “vibrant”, “extraordinary”, “amazing” (as well as “positively amazing” and “amazingly powerful”), “easier than ever before”, “incredible” (quite a few times), “fantastic” and “most powerful … ever built”.
Interestingly enough, you know what word fails to appear even once in all of this copy? “Useful.”
Now I thought about devising a clever line graph that shows the quality of a product declining as its advertising runs ever thicker with hyped-up language to create excitement, but it’s not that hard of a concept. The heavier the ratio of candy words, the less there is to say about the product itself. In some cases, a product really will change the world (the wheel, or sliced bread, or those cool shirts that never get wrinkled in your suitcase), or, more likely, there is just nothing about the product that is new, beneficial or news-worthy.
Which kind of sums up the iPad. It’s just a ‘roids version of an iPod Touch — a closed system, mysterious tech specs, no user options beyond the ghetto of the Apps Store. There is nothing new to say about last year’s technology repackaged for suckers.
Truth in Advertising?
So getting back to that dumb headline we started with. It was not written in proper sentence structure (there really is no verb), so we cannot tear it down to the base subject/action level, but we can strip out all of the over-the-top adjectives and decorative words. And when you take the fluff out, you get this:
Seems about right to me.