Observations of an ordinary man

Monthly Archives: September 2013


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Ever since Apple came out with the iPod, companies have been rushing like lemmings to the cliff to preface their products with the ubiquitous i.

Apple started the whole thing itself with the iPod and then subsequently came up with the iMac, iPhone, iPad, iTunes and now iCloud. Then to follow we have:

  • Hyundai’s range of cars are all now i20, i30, etc.
  • We watch movies at the iMax
  • St George Bank has branded it’s online banking iBank.
  • You can get your fishing information from iFish and herbal information from iherb
  • Kraft even branded its vegemite/cheese agglomeration with the unfortunate moniker iSnack 2.0. Thankfully this was a short lived brain melt and the name quickly became Cheesymite.

So what the heck does the i mean? Well when Apple peddled out the iMac in 1998 it supposedly meant “Internet, Individual, Instruct, Inform, and Inspire”. Sounds more Indecisive to me. Nowadays it is more related to Intelligent. Of course I want my cheesy vegemite snacks to be intelligent. I’d had to eat ignorant food.

Now Apple prefixing all of its products with i is fair enough. Its a branding thing. But what about the others. What are they trying to tell me. Is it that they are paying their marketing departments big dollars to recycle others ideas, or is it just that Apple has hit on such an amazing concept that marketing has reached its zenith and there is no point trying anymore.

In the first century AD, Julius Frontinus said “Inventions reached their limit long ago, and I see no hope for further development.” and the US patent office reiterated that sentiment in 1899 with “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” It would seem marketing has reached this point.

iThink that we are reaching the state of iMarketing where we don’t think too much. It’s easier to recycle old ideas rather than think up new ones.

I got to wondering why this annoyed me. I think it started with the proliferation of scandals that used the word gate as a suffix. This followed on from the Watergate scandal, which, oddly enough had absolutely nothing to do with water and everything to do with the Watergate Hotel where evidence of Nixon’s iniquities were first brought to light. Currently, there are over 100 different “gates” including the now infamous ContraGate and IranGate. Nowadays, the word gate is associated with scandal even though the original context was for the location.

What happened to the world of creative editorials and free thinking. We recycle old ideas and congratulate ourselves on our cleverness. Just ask Kraft how that worked for them wit iSnack 2.0. Daily there are new technical innovations that are meant to make our lives better but our brains don’t seem to be keeping up.

The lack of originality in the world today is frankly a scandal.

I think I’ll call it iGate.

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