The First iPad Commercial: Success or Failure?

10 Mar

If you tuned into the 82nd Annual Academy Awards this past weekend, besides seeing Alec and Steve, Sandra and Jeff, and James and Kathryn, you also saw Apple’s first commercial for the iPad. It’s very possible Apple fanboys were more excited for the ad than many award-winners were for their respective Oscars. And now that we’ve had a few days for the commercial to settle in, it’s time to gauge its effectiveness.

At first glance, the commercial appeared flawless. It was a classic Apple ad that perfectly illustrated the exciting and sexy features of their much-hyped, state-of-the-art product. However, beneath the spectacle of the actual device was the curious reality that the iPad was sitting on a person’s lap the entire time. Yes, we all saw how amazing the various functions were – but isn’t the iPad supposed to be a sleek, portable device? If that’s the case, the iPad in the commercial came across as a little, well… big.

Surely, Apple is trying to market the iPad as a device one could take on the subway, the bus, or use while sitting at a crowded bar – so why are they making it look like a laptop? While the iPad is supposedly poised to steal the eReader market, the commercial only fleetingly showcased its eReader function. Regardless of the on-going iPad vs. Kindle debate, Amazon appears to be content with its product and its singular purpose.

“We think we built a nice – very nice purpose book – purpose device,” said Amazon CFO, Tom Szkutak, who further described that purpose as being “built for reading.”

Amazon Kindle and Sony eReader could leverage the laptop versus portable device debate to their advantage. An easy marketing angle for either Amazon or Sony could be, “Buy the iPad if you want a computer – but stick with us if you want a device you can read with one hand, and hold a cup of coffee in the other.”

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