Will Apple bend under pressure?

Every year, Apple releases a new iPhone, and this year it was no more different than previous years. However, the release of the phone was not without hassle. The iPhone 6+ had some serious issues: when there is a certain amount of pressure applied on the iPhone 6+, it would bend. Obviously, for a €799 phone, this is unacceptable for a lot of people. This bending issue or bendgate has lead to a lot of discussion on the Internet.

And a few companies have made good use of this ‘bendgate’. Samsung for example had released the Galaxy Note Edge, which had a curved screen on the edge.

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 17.19.30

LG also had a phone that was curved, the LG G Flex and also released a funny tweet about it.

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 17.21.44

And even Heineken took advantage of the situation.

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 17.21.52

These three companies took advantage of the situation and were promoting their own product, while ‘humiliating’ the iPhone 6+. Viral marketing is nowadays very important when using social media. This article, written by Kaplan and Haenlein (2011), explains what rules you need to follow in order to make something viral. These companies created something memorable and interesting. As you can see in the tweets, all three products are bend or curved.  Another option is to create humorous or hilarious messages in order to attract the attention of the reader. In all three cases, the caption of the tweet is pretty funny (if you have the same level of humour as I do). But companies do have to watch out with provocative or edgy messages. Sometimes it could work in your favour, but these kind of messages can also work against you. Fortunately for these companies, they knew what the limit was, and these messages worked in their favour.

In my opinion, these kind of messages are pretty funny and well thought. Creating something catchy to put Apple in a bad light whilst at the same time promote your own product. What do you think about these kind of social media marketing strategies? Funny, well-thought or childish? Or do you think bad marketing is also marketing in the case of Apple?

Kaplan, A. M., and Haenlein, M. (2011) ‘Two hearts in three-quarter time: How to waltz the social media/viral marketing dance’, Business Horizons, vol. 54, pp. 253-263.

Hein, B. (2014) ‚ Bendgate Day 3: Best bendy iPhone 6 jokes to ease your pain’, http://www.cultofmac.com/297744/bendgate-day-3-brands-brands-brands-jokes-jokes-jokes/ September 25, 2014.


5 responses to “Will Apple bend under pressure?”

  1. annamariescharrenberg says :

    Thank you for your article on this Apple issue! I have seen it go all over the Internet as well and don´t understand why Apple hasn´t responded properly to this. I don´t think they have any intention to replace the phones that have been bent or to recall these obviously malfunctioning devices. And nobody seems to be offended by the fact Apple is not doing anything, they just keep buying their products. Seems very weird to me! I would be very interested to see another article on why Apple´s customers seem okay with the fact that Apple is not responding in a spectacular way.

  2. ling122120216 says :

    sense of humor always a good way to attract people’ attention, as well as in the marketing. it is a well-thought action to put Apple in the bad position meanwhile to market own product. however, in my opinion, for apple, it does not effect that much and in fact, Apple seems like the “free” advertisement from others. and since Apple has take over major part of the market share, the customer has already addict to it and seems like each time it lunches new product, everyone would like to go for it. and for whose who know little about it, this bad advertisement just catch their attention about to what extent the Apple+ would bend. it is really WOM, but cannot really figure it is bad or good for Apple.

  3. 352874eg says :

    Personally, I do not understand that Apple only apologized, but did not take any action to fix the problem yet. After iOs 8 was released several bugs in the system caused Apple to quickly release an updated version. I think that they should adress the “Bendgate” problem in the same manner. However, consumer response has been surprisingly quiet as well. If I were to spend a staggering $749, I would be pretty angry to see my phone bend so easily. History has shown that Apple is always subject to criticism after the launch of new product, e.g. the iPhone 4 with its flawed antenna design. Therefore I think they are not very sensitive to the loud critics, as there sales numbers do not indicate that customers are unwilling to buy the product. Even though the Apple’s stock price decreased after this news, I think that it has not stopped Apple fans from buying the new iPhone. However, this bad news does really show how news/social media can influence the value of stocks.

    To adress your questions more specifically; I like to think of these marketing strategies as fun and humoristic. I think Apple’s approach is to let the criticism outburst die. In return it would probably take a same approach to mock the other companies if they would make such a major mistake. Today it’s Apple, maybe tomorrow it’s Samsung.

  4. marcovandelft354680 says :

    What I find intriguing about this issue, is the fact that the problem went viral due to a YouTube video. This video was made by Lu from ‘UnboxTherapy’ (Who hasn’t heard of them?) to show what will happen when you apply an unusual amount of force to the iPhone. In the video you see that the phone can not cope with that kind of force and eventually cracks.

    I think the real problem however was the thumbnail they used to show the video. It was a snapshot which showed a completely cracked iPhone. Everyone that searched for #bendgate, would first see this thumbnail. You could compare this to searching costs. The less you need to scroll, the better. When the first thing you see is a cracked phone, this will eventually be your association with that particular phone.

    Some Apple users (fans) even claim that this video was made on purpose to damage Apple. I don’t know if this is true, but what I do believe are the numbers Apple has released regarding this issue. Only 9 customers returned to the Apple Store with a bent phone due to placing it in their pockets. Maybe this low return rate is why Apple is not responding to the issue. Maybe they acknowledge the problem when they do respond? I don’t know. All I know is that marketing departments made overtime to exploit this rare opportunity. And why shouldn’t they?

  5. 346981jvg says :

    I think it is quite interesting that three weeks later, almost no one is talking about #bendgate anymore. These bending problem is still there, but no one is talking about it anymore and the sales of these Iphones are quite impressive (Whitney, 2014). So you have to ask yourself whether it was a good strategy for Apple to not react on this ‘funny’ advertisements.
    I think the reaction to no react, was a good reaction from Apple. By saying nothing, after a while the focus disappear. People are going on with their lives and forget these advertisements. Nobody was offended by the fact that Apple was not doing anything. And who is talking about it now? Right, nobody and lots of people are buying the Iphone 6 and Iphone 6+.
    Of course, it was quite funny, but I think especially Samsung and LG did not reach what they expected. On that moment the focus was on Apple and their mistakes, and not on themselves. It was a better idea to focus more on their own product than the competitors.
    Apple as a brand is way too strong for this advertisements and this thing will not affect them. For me, it is like Apple is the big boy which does not take the others serious. They are feeling themselves too big to react on this kind of things of the little competitors. In fact it is a message they send out, like we do not care about the rest. For me this kind of reaction from Apple was very good and pretty clever, because for me it looks like they feel themselves better than competitors. Let the others do what they want to do, but we do not care about them. We are big enough to survive this mistake and will be the greatest.


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