Friday, 5 February 2010

How the iPad became known as the iTampon and other stories...

(I refer of course to Rudyard Kipling's great story of "how the elephant got it's trunk")

The last week has flown by and somehow it's been a week since Steve Jobs announced the launch of the Apple iPad, and I've only just had chance to blog about it.

Yes, without question it's an interesting new toy, the reviews are many and divided.

Lots of ooooh, shiny new toy perspectives, lots of it's just a big iPhone / iPod Touch with bells and whistles and lots of but hmm, but it won't support flash, I have to plug in extra bits if I want to take pictures off an sd card, and fine if I'm vegging on the sofa surfing and watching the box, but could I use it sensibly on a train to commute?  If anyone fancies buying me one, I certainly won't object, preferably one with 3G v just wifi (for reasons I'll come on to in a post to follow shortly about mobile metrics), but whilst it will start at $500 for a basic one so it's not ridiculously unaffordable,  I do question whether I'd be popping one in my handbag for some extra work productivity time on the train?  I can see my osteopathy bills rocketing up if I have to try and write documents of any length on it, unless I go and raid a department store china department for one of those decorative plate supports my Grandmothers found so handy. Hmmm.

A great device for leisure use, but I'm not sure I've been won over from the netbook category for the in between my smartphone & desk needs.

For me what made the iPad launch so interesting to follow was to see how quickly the product name got lambasted for it's similarity to feminine hygiene products, and just half an hour into the launch event it was already beginning to be referred to as iTampon.


The idea caught, the jokes went on and on, constantly evolving, with enterprising swift to react people capitalising fast with mocked up creative and aggregating jokes.

Within 4 hours of the iPad's launch,  iTampon jokes were over-flowing (forgive the pun), taking the topic to the #2 trending topic on Twitter (and the first being an auto-tag so doesn't really count!)

I sat there captivated, watching the search results jump from nowhere to 15k in 4 hours, to 22k 2 hours later still. Just phenomenal evidence of how far and fast and idea that captivates imagination can spread, and how little control brands have over these things.  Although if I were Steve Jobs I don't think I'd be unhappy about that level of buzz connected to my product, even if it wasn't likely to have been anticipated. By harnessing the sanpro angle the joke reached further than the techy alerts ever would have done.

Within 6 hours of launch the iTampon topic was trending all the way around the world. Amazing.

Facebook groups sprung up, images on Flickr, the joke clearly appealing to a broad range of men and women around the world.

This spoof video made and posted way ahead of the iPad launch suddenly found new life, jumping from 54k views when it was first tweeted past my radar to over 1.5m view in a week, the vast majority of which were clocked up in just 72 hours.

Whilst the buzz died down again in 3 days or so it's a joke base that I know will never die. As the product comes to market, all the jokes will resurface, when the iPad 3 GS or whatever the next generation product will be called is released there will undoubtedly be another whole round of fun, probably not reaching the same intensity but this one is going to run and run.

If that story doesn't convince marketers of the value of listening, that they need to be in a position to react swiftly if they want to participate and derive benefit from these fast moving trends, I don't know what will.

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