Thursday, October 27, 2005

OMG. People need to get over themselves. Right. Now.

It starts when Microsoft blogvangelist Robert Scoble praises Apple for immediately changing their home page to pay tribute to Rosa Parks.

Their tribute includes posting an existing ad from their "Think Different" campaign in the 90s that featured Rosa Parks. And the link behind the picture takes you to biographical information on Parks.

Scoble attributes their terrific market branding position to decisions like the one to change their site in such a way.

Now if you want to get annoyed, just start reading the comments.

First there are the people who, without any information or the least little bit of checking, declare that Apple has somehow stolen Parks' image and slapped their logo on it for marketing purposes. No, I said...existing ad.

Then there are the people who can't understand why everybody was eulogizing Parks all over the web for the last few days to begin with. Because, jerks, it's sad but true that often people have to die before the rest of us are compelled to think about what they did and how what they did made us feel. Welcome to reality. And welcome to the bogosphere that we all get to express how we feel very publicly and in an easily distributed fashion.

Finally there are the people who see only cynicism and exploitation. And who feel that if a company does something it must be for base, capitalistic purposes and couldn't possibly be to send a message about their values as a company.

But where do you draw theline folks? I wrote about Rosa Parks the other day on the hip & zen pen, a blog I write for a client who runs an online store.

Was I exploiting Rosa Parks? No? That's OK because I'm speaking with my voice on a blog? OK, so it's only big companies that can't communicate their corporate values in this way?

Apple consistently behaves in this way, whether after natural disasters or the passing of significant icons.

And as an Apple customer, as Robert rightly points out, it makes me feel good about the company, their values, the brand, and my purchase of their products.

Blogvangelists plug blogs as a way to humanize companies. That makes them a marketing/branding tool too. And morally no better or worse than paying tribute to an American icon upon her passing.

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