Apple resorts to aggressive marketing tactics

Hot on the heels of its four-day Black Friday discounts in November, Apple has continued to lure buyers by offering limited-period discounts via its Apple GiveBack programme. These trade-in offers, which the company originally only promoted with online campaigns, have now also found their way to its high street stores – in a manner that doesn’t impress everybody.

From last week, the company co-opted its Genius Bar Displays in Apple Stores across the US as well as Today at Apple Forum Displays to encourage clients to buy an iPhone XR or iPhone XS.

From Wednesday, the firm also started using animated video demo loops playing on the displays, with text shouting “Limited Time. iPhone XR from $449.”

Until a while ago, Apple only used Genius Bar Displays for Apple Support videos and product tips. In November, it started using them to highlight imminent Today at Apple sessions. This enhanced the consistency of the firm’s message at every location.

In updated retail outlets, the Video Wall runs curated artwork playlists or Forum Displays, but until now promotions fell outside the scope of their use. Recently, however, the company’s trade-in deals started to permeate just about all its public communication channels, including bigger and bigger website banners, push notifications from the Apple Store app, social media ads and marketing emails.

A number of analysts have found this approach just a little bit too aggressive. Today at Apple was originally meant to inspire clients to explore their creative talents, and contaminating in-store messaging with marketing hype obscures this programme’s meaning.

In the past, Apple stated that Forum Displays were intended to offer enriching learning experiences. Exploring the trade-in value of used iPhones might technically be a learning experience, but many people will not see it that way, and this could have a lasting negative impact on Apple’s image.

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