The idea was nothing new: reward loyal customers with a gift certificate, a voucher, or some form of merchandise—anything other than cash. Cash can be impersonal; it’s what you give your gum-chewing babysitter, the anonymous man behind the register, or the angry super who fixes your toilet. So we’re guessing Apple didn’t expect this type of blowback from the public.
But it happened.
Despite shaky signs that the economy, and life in general, are poised for an upswing, brands must remember that the public is still overly sensitive when it comes to relationships. Apple has always enjoyed a strong, loyal and profitable relationship with the public. In return for Apple products and services, we’ve showered the brand with ongoing seemingly limitless fortunes. So when Apple went public with plans to reward whoever was lucky enough to download the 50 billionth app from its store, the public reacted a little indignantly. The reward was $10,000 in App store cash.
The public felt Apple was being cheap. The comments below are from this article on CNN.com.
Jonny: “What the hell are you gonna do with 10k to spend in the damn App Store?! Give me 10k in cash!”
J.R.J.: “Wow! $10,000. Isn’t that what the new CEO paid for lunch yesterday? Such a generous company.”
Cjdance: “wow… $10K that you can only use in the Itunes store?…. way to ‘give back’ Apple”
Ross: “No wonder Apple make so much money. They’ve $100billion+ in the bank and now they’re getting millions in free advertising for itunes all for a piddling $10k prize.”
Okay, you get the point.
It’s difficult to measure public discontent or outrage in an online comment section. No one has ever gotten a nose bloodied, thrown in the back of police van or had to climb a lamppost to have their voice heard in such a forum. In fact, it often appears there is too much boredom and alcohol behind many online rants. But Apple will want to keep an eye on public sentiment. The brand thrived during a time when most of the public struggled.
And the future is never guaranteed.