Are Apple and the Church of Scientology One and the Same?
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has earned millions of loyal fans by building impressive, shiny, aluminum-covered products that consumers are eager to buy. They happily wait in line to acquire them, even if they aren't significantly upgraded.
"I wouldn't give a s*** if it didn't have nothing," one customer told Benzinga last year while waiting in line to purchase the iPhone 5. "I would be in line anyway. I just love iPhones. I would never have any other phone but an iPhone for the rest of my life. So when they have iPhone 83, I will be in line."
Apple could not buy that kind of loyalty, but it was able to cultivate it over a several year period, thus producing the cult following it has today.
In a seemingly unrelated story, the Church of Scientology has been repeatedly accused of being a dangerous cult. Loyal scientologists have repeatedly denied the label.
However, when the church decided to produce a commercial for release last fall (and now during the Super Bowl in some markets), the organization was inspired by an unlikely source: Apple.
The ad -- which has garnered roughly 89,000 views on YouTube -- opens with a series of academic-related visuals and a lengthy statement:
"To the curious, the inquisitive, the seekers of knowledge. To the ones who just wanna know about life, about the universe, about yourself. Not cute questions -- big questions, the ones that matter -- to the rebels, the artists, the free-thinkers and innovators, who care less about labels and more about truth, who believe non-conformity is more than a bumper sticker, that knowledge is more than words on a page. You're young, you're old, you're powerful beyond measure and the fuel of that power is not magic or mysticism, but knowledge -- the things you see, the things you feel, and the things you know to be true. Sure, some will doubt you. Let 'em. Dare to think for yourself, to look for yourself, to make up your own mind. 'Cause in the debate for answers, the one thing that's true is what's true for you."
That commercial is similar to the format Apple used to promote its "Think Different" campaign several years ago. Apple's ad featured its own statement designed to appeal to its followers and lure others to the firm:
"Here's to the crazy ones -- the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."
To be fair, the Church of Scientology is not the first organization inspired by the Mac maker. Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) attempted to capture Apple's magic when it produced its first commercial. The resulting message did not make much sense:
"Chairs. Chairs are made so that people can sit down and take a break. Anyone can sit on a chair, and if the chair is large enough they can sit down together and tell jokes or make up stories or just listen."
Five months later, people are still trying to figure out what Facebook meant.
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