Alan Hely has been stuck all day in a cupboard-sized room in the
bowels of a London hotel. It’s claustrophobic, he’s run out of biscuits
and the tea is stewed.
Despite this, Hely, the UK marketing director of Apple Computer, is
bubbling with excitement. For the 36-year-old Scot is showing off his
new baby to the British press - the iMac, Apple’s futuristic home
The iMac is blue and egg-shaped with a round mouse. And, as Hely
delightedly points out, even the cables are fun: translucent and
Much is riding on the iMac’s launch - it marks Apple’s re-entry into the
low-price consumer segment of the PC market after an absence of nearly
two years. In recent years, consumers and business have been moving away
from Apple to lower-priced standard PCs running Microsoft Windows.
Apple’s share of the world PC market has, consequently, shrunk from
about 10 per cent three years ago to about 3 per cent.
’In the past couple of years, we’ve lost our way in the consumer
We haven’t had a compelling product with a compelling price point,’ Hely
The iMac is set to change that. Apple is backing its launch with a
dollars 100 million global advertising campaign from TBWA Chiat/Day in
LA, the agency that launched Apple Mac in 1984. The campaign follows
last year’s ’think different’ advertising after co-founder Steve Jobs
rejoined the company.
Ads will focus on the iMac’s key features - easy internet access (hence
the ’i’), simplicity and speed. Lines include: ’I think therefore iMac’,
’Sorry, no beige’ and ’mental floss’. ’We are using the product as the
hero of the advertising,’ Hely says.
Hely has worked at Apple for three years, joining from Thorn EMI where
he headed Radio Rentals’ marketing. He’s gooey-eyed over the iMac but
insists he’s no techno-geek. Instead, he buys into Apple’s idiot-proof
pledge: ’I’m not at all technical. My job is to make things simple to
understand. If I can’t then who can?’ he chuckles.