The website fills screen after screen with all they have to offer in each tabbed product category. You must scroll down to get it all. You can go five or six links deep in a category. Features and advantages of the product are touted all along the way. There is a lot of text on many of the pages and it can be at a font size that could use a browser reset for enlargement. In visiting this Apple website one does not come away with sense of significance. The design of the site is common. Nothing out of the ordinary can be recalled about visual or rhetorical strategies.
The website contributes nothing to maintenance of a long term image once carefully supported. AT&T, as noted by Roland Marchand (48), was not the first major American corporation to recognize that corporations have images. If you are going to have one anyway, then why not make yourself in your best image? AT&T realized that its image could affect its long term corporate welfare. AT&T started its image making as an experiment but in rather short order came to realize that it was indispensable.
AT&T was above all relentless over a period of decades in presenting its image (Marchand 50). It seized on the phone, en masse or solitary, to represent itself though other phone companies, the independents, used the same equipment. Starting in 1919 it coupled the phone with its message that they were an industrial democracy made up of common folk just like the people at whom the ads were directed. Apple’s website is too directed at the common folk so defined as a higher end consumer of gadgetry though the gadgets are depicted at large in our culture as necessary.
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But no message, no image building has been maintained by Apple over the decades. They have shifted in and out of ad campaigns as this or that phrase came into favor and went out of favor. Their icon could have been the rainbow apple but it is now on the website reduced to an inconsequential presence. It is a static symbol that could have been a counterpoise for an operational aesthetic that Marchand (254) mentions as being more common for corporations to promote before the Great Depression.
Such an aesthetic assumes the audience would be much interested in the educational value to be derived from knowing about the process of manufacture or operations of the corporation. How the Mac or iPod works could be graphically explained on the website. Web programming could support numerous flashy depictions of the operation or use of Apple products. No tours, videos, or sound support the site. Such support could be in a modernistic mode somewhat akin to what Marchand (265) found prevailing during the Great Depression .
Then they sought to use a modernism to project confidence in the future. The modernistic machine-aesthetic motif with the photomural playing a major role was employed. Educational values still were a concern but increasingly entertainment for the audience derived from corporate image building and participation by the audience in that building were more and more put into practice. Apple’s 1984 venture can be seen as putting forth a confidence that users of the Apple computers need not fear the future.
The present day consumption of Apple has no concern for the future. It is ignored. The present Apple website doesn’t evoke any educational value. Nor does it seek to entertain you or have you participate. The iPod juggernaut of consumer frenzy allows you to be entertained, offsite, once you buy the product. The Apple wares are displayed on their website to be purchased. It is an inlet for consumerism.
Works Cited 2005: Apple’s 1984? 18 Jan. 2005. ZDNet UK. 11 Nov. 2005. <http://comment.zdnet.co.uk/other/0,39020682,39184541,00.htm>
Apple Profit Quadruples on Strong iPod Sales. 12 Oct. 2005. Associated Press. 11 Nov. 2005 < http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9665065/>
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