This catchy tune, known as “The iPhone Antenna Song,” was the official opener at Apple’s press conference in July 2010.
Just a few hours after the iPhone 4 was released last year, consumers began to notice a terrible flaw in the design of the heavily sought after product. Basically, when held a certain way, the antenna would short circuit and the phone would lose reception. Talk about a tragedy. As news spread, many wondered how Apple would respond. Steve Jobs’ immediate response wasn’t quite what the people had in mind. First, he tried to pass it off as a petty issue. Then, he went on to tell people they were just holding the phone the wrong way and that there wasn’t really a reception issue.
Long story short, Apple’s next move depended on some brilliant PR to bounce back from this corporate crisis. To see a full video of the press conference that followed, click here.
Apple has never been noted for having the most brilliant PR team. They’re more concerned with customer service and generating empathy. (Anyone who has ever gone into an Apple store knows this.) By acknowledging that, like everything else in the world, Apple (believe it or not) isn’t perfect, and then dropping some key data and test results, Jobs made a much better impression on Apple consumers than his original, more passive response. He assured consumers that Apple had taken the issue “really personally” and was “deeply sorry.” As a result, they promised that every person troubled by the iPhone 4 reception crisis would receive a free case or complete refund.
It probably wouldn’t be wise for anyone in a PR crisis to copy this approach, but for Apple it seemed to work. Before the press conference was over, Apple stock rose from $248.41 a share to more than $254 a share. And as it stands, Apple still can’t make iPhones fast enough to meet demand.