Sometimes there are products or services that I really dig, but I find myself alienated by their marketing. Two examples of this came up for me today that had me shaking my head.
In one instance, the problem was the language. Now, I adore the cloud service Dropbox. I absolutely rely on it, but in the very best sense; it’s seamless, simple, and unbelievably useful. They announced some new features in the works today, which is great, but their blog post about those changes read like it was aimed exclusively at the self-important douchebag demographic:
You’ve got places to go and people to see. But most importantly, you’ve got gumption — you’re the kind of person that takes initiative and uses Dropbox to organize, share, and bring all your stuff anywhere. Nice.
“Nice”? “Gumption”? Jesus Christ. Now, I suppose there’s a chance this was done at least partly tongue-in-cheek, but if so, they need to get better at locating their cheeks. Later, it tells us:
Now that you’ve signed up for both of these features, you can gloat to your friends that you’re ahead of the curve — a trendsetter, even.
I almost couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. And I kind of wish I hadn’t stopped rolling them, for soon I was to behold the second example.
TwelveSouth is a company that makes elegant and useful accessories for Apple products, like the completely awesome BookBook series of device cases. (I own their BookArc for my now-sold iPad, and I now use it to hold my MacBook Air, upside down, which I have to guess is a bad idea.) They just unveiled a new set of cases for the iPhone called SurfacePad, which look seriously great. Great, that is, until you see this picture on the website.
Yes, that’s my caption.
But come on. Am I supposed to think, hey, I want to be more like that guy. I’d better get that case!
Look at that smug, douche-of-all-trades look on his face. The slump on the chair that says, hey, I’m too hip to not sit like a grouchy 2-year-old. And who ties their ties all the way anymore? Lame!
The entire gist of the marketing at the TwelveSouth website for this case is of a kind with this image. The accompanying video looks like they’re advertising either a fragrance or a hallucinogenic drug.
In other words, it clearly seems aimed at not-me. Rather, in both cases, the target audience looks to be douchebags with egos in desperate need of stroking. Who’s a handsome, important boy? YOU are! Yes you are!
This kind of thing normally wouldn’t bug me, but the thing is, I know I’m part of the demographic both companies should be targeting because I know I totally dig their stuff. But if anything, what they’ve chosen to do makes me recoil from something I’d otherwise be very much inclined to. Particularly in the case of TwelveSouth, I find my inner, self-loathing voice saying, dude, this is clearly not intended for you.
I don’t know if that constitutes a failure or missed opportunity on these companies’ parts. Despite it all, I still want that damn case.