Apple's Steve Jobs: He's No Old Spice Guy
Please make it all stop so that I can have my life back.
No, I am not quoting BP CEO Tony Hayward. It's how I feel about this whole iPhone 4 antennta mishegas. As I write this, Steve Jobs is about to take the stage at a hastily arranged press conf -- er, special event to discuss the problems with the iPhone 4, which have been endlessly reported here and elsewhere.
[ Also on InfoWorld: How about Steve Jobs in a towel? On second thought, that might not dig Apple out of the hole Cringely describes in "Apple iPhone 4 fiasco: Can you hear us now?" | Stay up to date on all Robert X. Cringely's observations with InfoWorld's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]
The summary: Whatever you do, don't touch the lower-left edge of the iPhone during a call -- unless, of course, you're in the middle of a call with a collection agent and you need to bail.
The word on the street is that Apple will not recall the phone, regardless of what Consumer Reports wants to happen. I guess we'll find out very shortly if that's true.
However, I can say with at least 72 percent certainty there's no truth to rumors Apple has hired Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa to field questions from the press (though I do believe the rumors that Apple plans to introduce a head-mounted "mantenna" to solve those annoying signal issues).
Mustafa was the one bright spot during this week of endless Apple speculation. If you haven't seen his wildly funny Old Spice commercials yet, stop what you're doing and go watch them. Now. I'll wait. Then dial up his YouTube channel.
In what is easily the most brilliant meld of social and commercial media to date, Old Spice's creative team came up with the idea of having the "ridiculously handsome" off-the-charts-manly Mustafa respond to questions sent via Twitter and Facebook on YouTube. They recorded some 200 video responses, ranging from 20 seconds to a minute, to questions sent in by both ordinary users and Internet "celebrities" like Digg's Kevin Rose and Perez Hilton, as well as real celebs like Demi Moore and Alyssa Milano.
Many ad firms have twisted themselves into pretzels trying to prove they "get it" and that they're down with the Internet generation. Invariably, they fail miserably because they really don't get it and they really aren't down. Well, the Old Spice team got it -- totally.
Whoever they hired to write these spots was completely in sync with the spontaneous nature of Internet humor. Their response to 4chan/Anonymous -- Mustafa delivers a generic "thank you" while periodically holding random items in front of the camera -- was brilliant, as was his final YouTube sign-off.
What this means: Prepare for an onslaught of imitators. In a few weeks we're going to be hip deep in ad companies trying to outdo Old Spice in forced random/funky ways. I wish them luck. I don't think it's going to work.
Frankly, I think Apple should hire Mustafa to be its new, towel-wearing spokesmodel. At the very least, he'd smell nice -- a lot better than what's been coming out of Cupertino's public relations machine lately.
What do you think? Should Mustafa take over for Jobs at Apple events? And if so, should he wear a black turtleneck? E-mail me: email@example.com.
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