Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Corporate Fandom

Two things I noticed today:
  • Apple launched their iTunes site in New Zealand, after several years of depriving us of it.
  • I read Robyn's article about Holden fans and the prevalence of them on NZDating.

Which got me thinking about the strange phenomenon of corporations that have fans.

I can understand sports teams having fans. Musicians, actors and authors have fans. But why does anyone bestow their admiration on a publicly quoted company?

For car manufacturers (Holden and Ford in Australia and NZ, Ferrari in Italy) motor racing has been the route to this status (I guess). And while Ferrari have had to spend billions on producing the worlds best racing cars, Holden just hop up an overweight, low-tech family saloon and race a single opponent (Ford, of course) around the backblocks racetracks of Australasia.

Apple's method of reaching adulation has mostly involved Not Being Microsoft. Pushing their gear mostly to influential creatives and up market home users ensures cachet (David Brett uses a PC - he would never in a million years be furnished with an Apple). So while an MSFT product launch involves a good deal of sneering about bugs, security and how many dollars Bill Gates is making, the launch of iTunes is met with pure obsequiousness: "Can you tell us again how insanely great the iTunes store is, Mr Cue".

What other companies have corporate fans? Sony almost has, but could just be trying a bit too hard lately. Vodafone would dearly, dearly like to, but at the end of the day they're the phone company and they take your money. Google might have, but it's hard to see really how the search process is exciting enough to keep the fans amused.

Maybe MySpace - it's a bit ugly, but then that was never an absolute bar to fanned-ness.