You have to love BBC TV’s new ‘Superbrand’ series, which pokes fun at the Apple [AAPL] faithful for their famed semi-religious zeal — but then moves to take a look at Google and Facebook and (in my opinion at least) warns us all to be very, very afraid.
“Why have companies like Apple and Google grown so explosively in the past few years and why do the brands garner such loyalty from their customers?”
You can’t see this fab show in the US, but in the UK you can watch it right now on iPlayer, and I recommmend it for its witty delivery, though it does sometimes aim a little under the belt. I love that the show takes one Apple fan to a team of neurologists who actually put him through a brain scan while he thinks about Apple products, discovering a reaction that actually, scientifically, using science and cleverness, is indeed similar to that inspired by religion…
“A team of neuroscientists scanned the brain of an Apple fan and it showed that the brand was stimulating the same parts of the brain as religious imagery does in people of faith.”
Now, usually people slam Apple and Apple-ites at this point and call them out for their unhealthy near-religious obsession. Turn that question on its head, though, and you have to ask, does Apple qualify as a religion? Is it because it seems to offer a route to a personalized reality in an increasingly homogenized world? In this model, Steve Jobs becomes a new John Bunyan, and a religious war is about to break out. I won’t wax any more lyrical, I need to ponder this, but feel it might be an appropriate moment for a little Monty Python (below).
Then check out what it says about Google and Facebook (c/o TV Pixie): “But it was the forays into Google and Facebook that really made a solo eyebrow flick up. The former, as you should already know, is storing every single search you ever stick into your computer – yes, including that drunken night you were looking for ‘Judy Finnegan cake-fart’ – whilst the latter is clearly more keen on world domination than selling itself short with over-advertising.”
And its this focus on power rather than overnight profit that should really freak us out as consumers. The only thing missing from Riley’s documentary was a detailed look at exactly who funds these two web enterprises and what they seek to gain from all that information – but I imagine that would be an extremely tangled knot to unravel.”