The Surprising Connection Between Apple Computer, the Kremlin, and Ketchup

Guarding the Kremlin

Image via Wikipedia

Ever notice Apple’s new product marketing strategy? How they build anticipation for every new product roll out? They’ll announce a date for an event, but the reason is deliberately kept ambiguous. They tease that something is going to happen, but won’t say precisely what it is.It’s like the Kremlin back in the days of the Soviet Union.  Their system is closed, and highly secretive, but information (or is it disinformation) leaks out anyway.

The thrill of discovery

Apple has legions of fans carefully checking patent applications, digging into orders for parts, poring through shipping manifests, and devoting hours to building or reading websites devoted to rumors, half-truths, leaks, and maybes. Once they find something, they gleefully spread it.

During the cold war, US officials would carefully scrutinize photos of Kremlin officials. They wanted to see who was standing closest to the premier, who was far away, and who had been airbrushed out.  They looked for clues to see who was in power, and who had been purged.

Inside information

Some complain about Apple’s secrecy, but that’s really part of their marketing plan. The secrecy helps to build anticipation, which makes cracking the code that much more fun. The thrill of discovery, and exclusivity, drives people to spend time doing things that may not seem terribly rational.

Heinz ketchup once ran ads with a song called “Anticipation” by Carole King playing in the background – waiting, and waiting and waiting for the ketchup to come out of the bottle.

Build anticipation for the product roll out

You may not have as many raving fans as Apple, but you can do this too. If you’re working on a new product, casually mention it in your blog or newsletter before you launch. And write about whatever topic it covers.

Offer an inside peek or a discount to your subscribers or your blog visitors. People want to be first (ever notice all the comments on blogs – First!).

Then, sit in front of your (Apple) computer and have some fries. Put ketchup on them. Singing the Internationale is optional.