Apple, U2 and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Good Idea

How’s that for a click bait headline?!

Apple Makes News

The reason business movers and shakers follow Apple – and especially small business – is because they make news. More than a story teller, Apple is a story maker. It’s the best litmus test for any press release or store opening or sales pitch.. if you’re not Apple, then try again until you’ve got real news.

The news these days: new iToys, new iOS, more moves towards global consumer domination and one really bad PR move.

The Little Things are HUGE

As a free gift with purchase, Apple decided to give every iTunes account bearing human – approximately 1 out of every 8 people who call Earth home – the newest U2 album. For free.

Sounds great right, free music so what could go wrong? It’s such a little thing, I mean .. not like it was Nickelback or Bieber (and yes I know I’m not the only one to crack that joke).

Oh so very wrong. From the moment Apple pushed U2 onto people’s accounts, sans their consent, many decried the brand overstepped. It was such an unpopular move, they had to release a U2-B-Gone tool.

Bonus: a few of my favorite #FirstWorldProblem Apple U2 Tweets.. the tamer ones at least. That last guy had a ton. heh.

Respect Your Customer. It’s Their Choice.

We hate spam. We had interruptions and noise and anything we didn’t ask for. If we want it, we’ll subscribe, we’ll opt-in.

Had Apple had pitched this idea to me, my advice would have been: give people a choice. Give them the album as a code or credit to their iTunes account, and if they buy U2 so be it. If not, let them buy whatever the hell they want. Done.

How different would the story have been? How much PR goodwill would have been earned? Hell, how much money would have been made from people who might have bought the U2 album and more?

People like free. We like bonuses and extras. Except when we don’t. That’s our choice.

You? Did you download or delete? What were your favorite tweets? 

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4 thoughts on “Apple, U2 and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Good Idea

  1. Hey Davina,

    Okay, I’m probably one of the few people online today that’s not a huge Apple fan. Granted, I do have an iPhone but that was only because it came free with my last upgrade. Seriously!

    So having said that I don’t ever rush down to buy anything Apple although it’s been stuffed down my throat SO many times about how darn great they are. I give them that, they are innovative, creative and way about the times with everything.

    I’m also not a huge U2 fan although I like them. They just aren’t my particular cup of tea so I would have preferred the choice of an iTunes credit. I guess they can just chalk this one up to a very bad move on their part but it’s obvious their intentions were good. Isn’t that how we all learn?

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..Thankful Thursday: Content, Customers, Advice, BroadedNet, Backlinks

    1. That’s it – even the best of intentions from one of the smartest companies can backfire. My thing is that we’ve seen similar moves from various brands in the past and if there’s one thing people dislike it’s unilateral decisions. Thanks for chiming in.

    1. What was the thinking?

      Exec 1: “Here’s an idea – free music.”
      Exec 2: “Great.. how will we do it, iTunes credit?”
      Exec 1: “No – auto dump a new unasked for album in everyone’s account.”
      everyone else: crickets.

      Makes me wonder the culture: were there no PR people in the room when this idea was around? were people too afraid to say ‘free is nice, a choice is better’ or something? IDK like anything else – even the ‘bendy’ iPhone – they’re still crisis, PR, marketing proof in some ways; this isn’t a deal breaker by any means. Just a bump in the road. Thx.

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