New Zealanders will see Apple Computer’s ‘Think Different’ ad campaign, on TV and other media – but there will be “a bit of explaining as to what the background behind it is”, says the new head of Apple’s local distributor.
Paul Johnston, who was drafted in by Renaissance Group to replace Zane Hall as general manager of its Apple New Zealand subsidiary, says a strategy aimed at promoting the Apple brand will be continued continued this year. He discounts any suggestion that the reorganisation of Renaissance’s businesses will see the Apple brand submerged.
“We’ve got to keep the identity of Apple separate. There was a lot of talk about the integration with Renaissance, but the reality is, Apple in New Zealand has been part of Renaissance for some considerable time. So really, it’s just a case of more branding.”
Apple has switched its advertising account over to the local affiliate of Apple’s corproate agency, Chiat-Day, as part of the new campaign. Hall, ironically, has taken up a job with Apple NZ’s former agency, Mojo.
Johnston expects his background as a Mac user of nine years’ standing will have an impact on the way he approaches his new job.
“The best way I can describe it is that I’m a Mac evangelist rather than a Mac bigot,” says Johnston. “I recognise there there are other platforms, with their own capabilities and benefits, but my own personal computer at home is a Mac and has been for years”
Describing last week’s joint Microsoft-Apple launch of Office 98 for the Macintosh as a “fantastic event”, Johnston says he expects to be “working a lot more closely with companies like Microsoft. We’ll also start using some of the products that Renaissance has to give us individual leverage. We’ll be going to the marketplace with some fairly significant bundles, both software and hardware, very shortly.”
Apple NZ will focus this year on its core markets in educations and pre-press, says Johnston, but “there will obviously be some direction into other markets, but you’ll have to wait and see what happens with our new product launches.”
Johnston says expectation about new products due from Apple over the next year is well-founded.
“Just take a wee look at Apple’s stock, and look at who’s putting the money in, it’s very, very intelligent money that’s going in there. The stock price has doubled in the last five or six months, and these people know what’s going on. They’re not daft.”