If you watched the news during the late 80’s, perhaps you too wondered “Just when did pitbulls stop biting people?” We seemed to go through a couple of months there when pitbulls were biting everything: tearing through titanium, ripping children out of nurseries and basically behaving like canine Nazis.
Then, as quickly as the stories started, they stopped and we went on to other lasting things like acid washed jeans and Yahoo Serious. The ugly truth was this ‘story’ was part of a coordinated PR effort to draw more attention to the American Humane Society. Unfortunately, it resulted in character assassination for a notably courageous. loyal and yes, loving breed.
But that’s the nature of PR and trends: they burn hot and furious, then die to be replaced by a new flame. And maybe that explains why it seems like no one is talking about the iPad anymore. Two or three weeks ago, you couldn’t get away from the thing; every blog, news story, and tweet breathlessly reported some new aspect of this technology that was going to change the way we did, well, everything.
Eventually, cooler heads considered it and asked “1 GB of memory?” “No camera?” More damningly, despite Steve Jobs’ bluster about how “Flash sucks,” essentially all web video uses Flash, so without that capability, the iPad will be severely hampered as a web surfing tool.
Yes, someday it will create a viable new category between laptop and smart phone. Maybe even a version or two from now. But more likely, much like the Newton eventually begat the iPhone, the iPad will inevitably beget something people actually want for more than two weeks.
You know, something that becomes a brand, not just a Google trend.
In a world where opinion enjoys a mass channel, brands need word of mouth that’s not just positive, but sustainable.