Apple iPhone 3GS = branding megafail

When it comes to branding, marketing, advertising, PR and the general concepts surrounding efforts to sell stuff, Apple is one of the best in the business — hands down. Love Apple products or hate them, there’s really no question it knows how design an attractive product and make it even more attractive using marcom. As such, the company is always meticulous with the messages it delivers, the wording it chooses and the quality of its marketing/advertising — well, almost always.

Its latest product, the iPhone 3GS, is a smash hit. It launched this past Friday in fewer countries than the iPhone 3G did last year and still managed to sell over a million handsets in its opening weekend — more units than its predecessor in fact. Remarkable. There is a major fault in Apple’s new handset however, that we likely wouldn’t have seen under Stevo’s watch: the branding. Yes, we’re sure Jobs played a major role in naming the device and we can’t believe “3GS” is what the crew in Cupertino landed on but considering how peculiar and unfriendly to search engines the name is, one would think the company would take particular care in referring to the handset. Nope. According to Apple, the official name of its new handset is “iPhone 3GS”. Fair enough. Take a look at Apple’s website at the time of this writing however, and you’ll find no less than a hundred references to the “iPhone 3G S” — with a space between the “3G” and the “S”. Crazy. This is also how the handset was presented when it was introduced earlier this month: “3G S”.

To be honest, we can’t remember ever having seen Apple fail so massively in this department. It may seem trivial but companies take branding extremely seriously for several reasons and all of these reasons play key roles in the marketing/sales processes. Apple is cleaning up its site and changing “3G S” to “3GS” but even now there are still a few omissions. The screen cap above was taken this morning and it shows less than a quarter of a page with four mistakes alone.

So welcome back, Mr. Jobs. Time to get to work.

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