What Apple’s new ‘Switch to iPhone’ campaign gets right... and wrong

The ‘Hear from Switchers’ videos have actual testimonials from new iPhone users. — Screenshot of campaign webpage
The ‘Hear from Switchers’ videos have actual testimonials from new iPhone users. — Screenshot of campaign webpage

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Who can forget the early 2000s’ Apple “Switch” campaigns. The “Get a Mac” videos were hilarious and memorable and certainly proved effective in getting more people on the Mac.

Fast-forward a decade later: it’s 2020 and Apple just released a few videos to convince people that switching to the iPhone is a good idea.

Unlike the broader targetting of the earlier “Get a Mac” campaign, this time it’s localised with the videos highlighting the experiences and testimonials of Malaysian iPhone users

The good

It’s smart that Apple is making it more personalised, instead of just going for the same people for all the global campaigns.

The messaging is also fairly succinct; keeping to clear, simple benefits and not just drowning potential users in feature lists.

Apple kept it to four key areas: performance, battery life, resale value and privacy — all things where Apple can show clear differentiation.

I find the emphasis on resale value particularly interesting and it’s one thing that is not subjective by any means.

An iPhone is ridiculously easy to sell and its resale value holds for far longer than any Android phone.

Typically Android phones that are not flagship models are not particularly easy to sell. Part of it stems from the sheer amount of brands and makes of Android phones.

The not-so-good

While the localisation effort is laudable, the campaign lacks what I’d call “magic.”

It’s nice they made the effort to find Malaysians to front it, it’s just a pity they couldn’t find personalities that are particularly memorable.

The use of Memojis is cute but I felt they could have done more with them.

Apple might have made a good approach in the messaging but the packaging could have been better -- too sanitised, and a bit too “here is the marketing box, please make sure it fits the parameters.”

A good try but the simple objective of “After watching this, I really want an iPhone” isn’t quite reached.

What’s missing is that feeling the iPhone or Apple faithful know; that first time, that killer reason that made them know “This is why I want it.”

No one really goes to a store and thinks: wow that iPhone is easily resaleable I must have it now.

What Apple has harnessed well for decades is the understanding of the doctrine of desire, the creation of a pure sense of want.

Hopefully the next series of “switch” commercials can truly capture the essence of why Apple launches create long lines and millions of people tuning in online.

You can check out the “Switch to iPhone” page and the “Hear from Switchers” videos here

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