The worldwide ad effort is the biggest, most concentrated blitz in the history of home computers.
"I don't think the way to look at this is how much we're spending," said Allen Olivo, Apple senior director-worldwide marketing communications. "I think the way to look at it is how much opportunity we have to sell product."
Apple introduced the iMac in the U.S. Aug. 15, and launched its TV ads the next day, followed by a 12-page insert in new issues of Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Time and select other magazines. The TV push begins with two 30-second spots, running on network and national cable, and in 10 spot markets. Apple also is using radio and outdoor in key markets.
iMac will be introduced in Europe and Japan next month.
`THINK DIFFERENT' ADS CONTINUE
Apple will continue its "Think different" brand ads, as well as product ads for G3 desktop and PowerBook Macs, during the iMac blitz. TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., is Apple's agency.
Rival PC makers, laboring to make money selling sub-$1,000 home PCs in a commodity market, spend far less on advertising than iMac but have been selling far more units than Apple. Compaq Computer Corp., the No. 1 home PC maker, this year doubled U.S. spending for Presario to $50 million.
Mr. Olivo said the iMac campaign is targeting some 10 million existing Mac consumer owners who might upgrade, and 10 million to 20 million consumers who want to surf the Web.
MAY SELL 1.3 MIL IMACS
Marketing consultant Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, said he believes Apple could sell up to 1.3 million iMacs this year, with 90% of sales made to existing Mac users.
"The bigger question is whether iMac will attract new users," Mr. Bajarin said.
The $1,299 iMac will compete against cheaper, Microsoft Windows-based PCs.
"With all the deals this fall, you can get yourself a whole system for $800, including a monitor," said Mike Gold, senior VP-advertising and corporate communications at Packard Bell NEC.
`AN ORIGINAL BRAND, PRODUCT'
Countered Mr. Olivo: "Apple really is the one who is stepping out and saying, `We have a better product, we have a better way to market.' What you have out there essentially is a bunch of clonemakers, who can sell a commodity product cheapest. With Apple, you've got an original brand, an original product."
Asked if it makes sense for Apple to spend so much on advertising this year when Apple owners may buy up most initial iMacs, Mr. Bajarin said, "It's probably a safe gamble," since iMac needs to build momentum going into 1999.
Agreed Dataquest analyst Scott Miller, "$100 million is absolutely focusing the world on Apple. They're creating an environment in which an awful lot of potential customers are paying attention to them."