iPhone. Should Service Providers Advertise?
In case you were under a rock this week, Steve Jobs announced that a new, 3G version of the iPhone was shipping to markets across the globe. In Canada, the release date has been confirmed for July 11th at Rogers and Fido stores across the nation.
Not only is the iPhone faster, it's half the price (at $199.99). Now, this price will surely include
a 3 year plan on Rogers with a monthly data fee (it's not going to be cheap) but the attractiveness of the product is hard to argue with.
Which leads to an important question:
Should service providers like Rogers advertise the iPhone?
The iPhone is such a unique product that a loyal consumer base has been waiting for it to roll out across other countries. Tech blogs like Gizmoto and Engadget dedicated full sections over the last few months covering iPhone improvement rumors, launch timing and the minute details of the new device. On the day of the speech, they each had live minute-by-minute updates for the readers who were unable to attend.
Simply put - people know about the iPhone. National papers, like the Globe and Mail and National Post, had front page coverage and the word is out in Canada...it's coming. And it's on Rogers.
Apple has created a new, North American TV spot to showcase the debut and it will most likely be running in Canada.
iPhone 3G from Dylan Staley on Vimeo.
But this question isn't whether Apple should advertise the iPhone, it's about whether Rogers should.
Why spend a few million dollars on TV spots, a huge (separate) microsite, print and magazine when people already know you have the device?
Where Rogers can make a splash is in the monthly plan and the offer. If it's lucrative enough, you have an instant base who is thrilled to have an iPhone and (secondly) happy that they are not getting gouged by the price. For a service provider, this is ideal. Get brand awareness that you are the exclusive handset provider for Apple but also improve your customer service scores by providing consumer-friendly plans.
If anything, we need to learn from AT&T's mistakes of being the one bad part of buying an iPhone. "Yea...it's a sweet device, but I just got a 2,000 page bill from AT&T."
At the end of the day, Canadians are excited and so is Rogers. Hopefully, the plans will be affordable (and fair) and that the iPhone hype (which I fully buy into) helps to be a change agent for all service providers.
All I know is that on July 11th, I'll be at a Rogers store. Ads or not.