Emerging Technology

iPhone tops list of the year’s best products

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The iPhone has been named one of 2008’s best products in a survey of senior marketing and media executives.

The iPhone has been named one of 2008’s best products in a survey of senior marketing and media executives.

The survey, compiled by The Australian Financial Review, also lists the growing use of 3G phones as the most important consumer trend, and Barack Obama’s race to the White House as the best marketing campaign.

Runners-up for best new product were Four’n’Twenty’s novelty Magic Salad Plate, digital video recorders and Nestle Green Blend coffee.

Tourism Australia’s $40 million campaign for Baz Luhrman’s film Australia and Meat & Livestock Australia’s Sam Kekovich advertisements are runners-up for best marketing campaign award.

Wayde Bull, planning director for marketing firm Principals, says Apple has succeeded in creating a product that effectively markets itself.

“It’s more than a physical product. It integrates software, and links things together in a way that most products don’t. It really is a hardware and a software breakthrough. I think that’s part of the reason why people who buy it become such great advocates, as there are bells and whistles on the device that create excitement.”

The release of the 3G iPhone created a stir earlier this year, with enthusiasts camping out hours before stores opened. While Apple has not released official sales figures for Australia, industry experts say the group has sold between 40,000 and 100,000 units.

Bloggers praising the device have even hailed it “the Jesus phone”.

“When something is called the Jesus phone, it has to be on the list of the most successful new products of the year. The queue outside the Apple store on the day of its release says it all,” communications agency Belgiovane Williams Mackay chief executive Paul Williams tells The Australian Financial Review.

Wayde Bull agrees.

“I guess the other thing Apple are great at doing is building anticipation about new products. Not individual ads or marketing material – they create an amazing sense of anticipation that something neat is coming,” he says.

Runners-up for most important consumer trends were the rise of social networking, “going back to basics”, and “enoughism”, which Bull says is the idea that people have simply just had enough.

“The very thing that’s going on in the world economy is about people consuming more and more stuff, which they can’t afford. I guess it’s time to reassess what we consume. On top of the things we buy, I think people also feel overwhelmed about the amount of stuff coming at them. People may be saying enough is enough.”

Another consumer trend listed as the most important for 2008 was “lack of confidence”, which Bull says is a good indicator of the year’s financial turmoil.

“Given the year we’ve just had, people are feeling a bit hard to explain why things are taking such a turn for the worse. They’re struggling to understand what is driving markets and the world. And not surprisingly, people are feeling that they don’t have as much control as they would like over their own lives.

“What’s concerning people now is the certainty of their own employment. When that starts sinking people can’t be certain of their livelihoods. Confidence then takes a pretty big slip.”

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