In a smart series of ads, Apple reinforced many deep-seated beliefs about Microsoft and the differences between the two companies.
So does design.
That’s why when I saw this new Charles Schwab spot for the first time last week, I had that same reaction.
Only this time, it was about radio. And I couldn’t help but cringe.
Even though the commercial is about updating your 401(k), the visual metaphor is unmistakable.
Traditional radio = ‘80s, old school, dated, where you’ve been
iPod = today, modern, current, where you want to be
Of course, design matters – an ongoing theme in the Steve Jobs biography and the Apple story.
And in this context, radio’s dated receivers are sending a message to listeners, young people, media buyers, and others. Maybe it’s subtle or even subliminal. But when you consider that political advertising in a Presidential election cycle will be down a percentage point – or two – these seemingly small slights may be taking their toll on the heart, soul, and strength of the radio business.
The medium has made many valiant efforts to stay up-to-date and connected during the past few years. Radio has pursued the mobile revolution heavily. The iHeartRadio movement has played a major role in keeping radio looking and feeling modern.
So the Schwab spot angers me on the one hand, but reminds me on the other about the importance of radio continuing to make the climb, staying active in the mobile and digital spaces, and providing the ability to experience content on a myriad of devices.
So it’s a little depressing when this Schwab spot runs on TV. But then I put the boom box out of my mind, and I start thinking about images like this, and I feel better about radio’s ability to re-image and remake itself down the road.
Modern. Sleek. Where radio needs to be.