Did you spot the difference? While the South Korean company contentiously ridicules iPhone users’ awed behaviour, Apple’s new advertising campaign simply flows oblivious of any competitors, as it had done in the past. Figures of record-breaking sales surely give ground for such confidence, but the challenge remains.
There is little doubt that the stakes are high in the race for market share between both corporations.
Even so, a bit of humour can go a long way. According to the British Psychological Society, defences in prospective customers against aggressive marketing can be trespassed with a laugh or two.
“Whether it’s messages on smartphone Apps or the old fashioned way on billboards, radio and TV, advertisers bombard us relentlessly. Fortunately, our brains have an inbuilt detector that shields us from the onslaught, a mental phenomenon that psychologists call resistance,” a recent BPS research paper read.
It added that “Ads from dodgy companies, our own pre-existing preferences, and a forewarning of a marketing attack can all marshal greater psychological resistance within us. However, this study suggests that funny adverts lower our guard, leaving us vulnerable to aggressive marketing.”
Madelijn Strick and her team exposed 86 Dutch university students to pictures of 12 foreign peppermint brands, each of which appeared together with one of four types of text: funny; positive but unfunny; distracting neutral (simple maths problems); and non-distracting neutral.
The researchers concluded that humour has a double effect. Because it’s distracting, it prevents the formation of negative brand associations, and separately it engenders positive connotations for the brand because of the pleasure of mirth.
These effects were implicit in the sense that they occurred regardless of whether participants remembered that a brand had been paired earlier with humour.
So, is Apple taking itself too seriously?