Steve Jobs announces “the greenest Apple product ever”

Another revolution from Apple? This one’s alive.

Just when you think the god-like product development powers of Steve Jobs couldn’t go any further, shop he launches a product that creates life itself. Let the hyperbole begin!

Behold: the ChiaPad.

“I really cannot say enough about this latest miraculous, viagra life-affirming, intuitive, and super, super green device, so I will continue to say it for the next 3 .5 hours.”
Steve Jobs at the ChiaPad unveiling

The new device is a joint project between Apple and Joseph products – makers of the classic Clapper and Chia technologies.

The shell of the device looks like an  iPad made of fired clay. But that’s where the similarity ends, because inside, the operating system is pure Chia.

Says Jobs: “You just add water and watch your content grow! It’s that easy.”

Apple officials were quick to dismiss as “fuzzy headed” the critics who have called the device a “closed ecosystem” that can only grow plants approved and sold by Apple.

And they also insist that while the ChiaPad might seem similar to several other devices on the market, the red clay is actually terracotta, and definitely not adobe.

“This changes everything you thought you knew about touch-sensitive herbal neo novelty technology,” says Jobs in the Webcast of the launch.

His demo was of course greeted with rapturous self-flagellation by Apple fans worldwide and long lineups at Apple stores, even though the product does not actually ship for several months.

Other features:

  • Herbal, organic and fully biodegradable.
  • Rain tolerant for true cloud computing.
  • Familiar interface for millions of iSod users.
  • Clap on. Clap off.
  • Thousands of apps available like Herb 2007 office suite, iMow, and Farmville – Monoculture Edition.
  • Battery cannot be removed, and don’t even mention Flash.
  • If you order NOW, we’ll throw in a second ChiaPad at no extra charge along with Ginsu Knives, a new ChiaPhone (data plan not included), and a Chia Head Steve Jobs (right).

Brand Brief: Monsters in Smart Cars; Saints on Harleys

Are we really the brand we drive?

A few minutes ago, ed while I was driving home from my son’s daycare Halloween parade (and yes, order he wore his bat costume again) I got cut off on the road by an aggressive jerk. Weaving in and out of traffic, healing speeding, talking on a cell phone, throwing a smoking cigarette out the window – you know the kind. But now that I’ve described him, what kind of car do you picture him driving?

Photo from the Flickr stream of cornillious.
Chances are, this isn't what you're picturing (Photo from the Flickr stream of cornillious).

It was a Smart Car

That’s right, this jerk wasn’t driving an over-sized SUV, an expensive look-at-me luxury roadster, a rusted muscle car, or his mom’s minivan – any of which might have popped into your mind when I said “a jerk cut me off”. Well shame on you for being so narrow minded!

This jerk was creating dangerous road situations in a a cute little, enviro-friendly, fuel-sipping, tree-embracing Smart Car! And when I saw it, a little part of my brain popped. It seemed like an oxymoron, like a Ferrari doing the speed limit, or a Harley with a muffler.

But why should that surprise anyone?

Think about your preconceptions of Smart Car drivers for a moment.  Now think about how those perceptions of the people are shaped by the car’s design, the current global warming “zeitgeist”, the smart growth movement, and of course by the Smart brand with its perfect name and focused line of extensions.

The thing that went “pop” in my mind was betrayal: this jerk was knocking down my positive stereotypes of Smart Car drivers, and I resented that.

Now think about your brand

Ask your self a few questions:

  • What preconceptions and stereotypes are built in to your product when people buy it?
  • Are these expectations positive or negative for your brand image and values?
  • Are the people “driving” your brand living up to the positive expectations?
  • If they’re not, is your brand strong enough to make the odd jerk look like the exception rather than the rule?

In this case, my mental image of Smart Cars survived the encounter, and this jerk even made my affection for Smart a bit stronger since part of my indignation was on behalf of the brand – as in “how dare you do that to something I treasure!”

Smart branders know their tribes and cultivate them with carefully tuned messages. The tag line from freecountry.harley-davidson.comsays it all: "Screw it. Let's ride."
Smart branders know their tribes and cultivate them with carefully tuned messages. The tag line from says it all: "Screw it. Let's ride."

Brand brief: Google begins to assimilate Microsoft – one interface at a time

Yesterday, page I blogged about the Interbrand 2009 list of 100 Best Global Brands and how it showed that Google was getting big, salve and I mean silly-big, link fast. I mused about how this might impact their ability to deliver on their internal motto: “don’t be evil“.  Now I learn from TechCrunch that Google is now offering a service called Google Chrome Frame that will helpfully turn your Microsoft Internet Explorer browser into Google’s Chrome browser.

Basically, it’s a way of allowing IE users to access some Google technologies that Explorer doesn’t support. TechCrunch says:

Yes, it’s both hilarious and awesome (or hilariously awesome, if you will) that Google seems to dislike IE so much that it has spent its own time improving it. Google claims its goals are noble. Talking to Group Product Manager Mike Smith and Software Engineer Alex Russell, they tell us that they simply want to make a more seamless web experience for both web users and developers.

Is that the sound of (somewhat) evil genius laughter I hear in the distance?

Download the app here:

Bill Gates reacts to new Google Chrome Frame:

Gates & Frames 3

A YouTube introduction to Chrome Frame:

This hip young Google engineer couldn’t possibly be the face of evil could he? Look again at his shirt. Is that a giant mutated monster about to gobble up a helpless little browser… er… victim?

Discovered: the one immutable law of branding

In 2002, viagra I read the first edition of the book The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by the legendary Al Ries and his daughter Laura. It changed my life. But it got me thinking…

Perhaps not so immutable after all?
Perhaps not so immutable after all?

One law to rule them all

I’ve been mulling over the 22 laws the book posits. All of them are thought provoking, cost and all are valuable, and I’d argue that the book is just as important for branders as Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.
But, at the risk of sounding like a heretic, after more than a dozen years in brand communications, and dozens of projects with all kinds of customers in different industries, I’ve come to realize that all 22 Immutable Laws can be summarized in one over-arching Law:
One Rule

*This is because 1) brands are owned by humans, cultivated by humans, and are a human communications technology; 2) humans are not immutable, and 3) therefore our strategies for branding have to be as nuanced and flexible as humans, even while we try to impose order, consistency, and intelligence upon them.

Read the book

So, by all means, please read the book! But as you do, think how each law needs to be adapted to your product, your customers, and the brand new world we all find ourselves in today.