If you were Apple, how would you respond to iCrime news?

Picture_2 I was watching the local news the other day when a sound byte caught my attention.  "iPods linked to crime wave."  So being a man of the new millennium, I DVR’d it.

Here’s the scoop.

Violent crime in the US increased in 2005 and 2006 for the first time in 14 years. Homicides and robberies are up, while other violent crimes are down.

"At the same time that violent crime rates began to rise, America’s streets filled with millions of people visibly wearing, and being distracted by, expensive electronic gear," explained the authors of the Is there an iCrime wave? report.

According to the report, there are four reasons why iPods are playing a key role in the iCrime wave:

  1. iPods contain almost no easily accessible anti-theft protection
  2. Unlike mobile phones, there is no subscription associated with iPods
  3. iPods are high-status items and may be stolen for their status or to be resold
  4. Since iPods plug into both ears (unlike a cell phone’s one ear occupation) iPod users may be less aware of their surroundings than users of other consumer products

Here’s my question for us in the marketing world:  If you were the CMO of Apple and heard about this report/news story — what would you do or not do? 

10 comments on “If you were Apple, how would you respond to iCrime news?

  1. Bart says:

    I’d create a stealthPod (limited edition of course ;))

  2. John Dawson says:

    Create a Jailbird edition?

    Seriously, this issue will become less apparent with the iPhone model which should be lockable to a network (users permitting). Nokia and Sony Ericsson can essentially make stolen phones worthless so i assume Apple can do the same with the iPhone. I would lake the lead and announce this as a key feature nobody realised they got.

    Also, they could get the engineers to add an alarm and Mace dispenser 😉

  3. Amanda says:

    Here’s my issue with the story: it’s a perfect example of misuse of data to create a headline or sound byte that will get people to DVR a story. Although there might be a correlation between the number of iPods and the rise in violent crime (i.e. the increased number of iPods occurs at the same time as an increase in crime), there is nothing to suggest causation (i.e. the iPods caused the crime). To suggest so is both misleading and irresponsible.

    By the same logic, one could argue that ice cream causes children to drown: there is a correlation between ice cream consumption and drownings. But it isn’t the ice cream that causes drownings—its the fact that both swimming (and drownings) and ice cream consumption go up in the summer. Correlation, no causation.

    Certainly iPods and iPod-ers are easy targets, but how many of the people who were victims of murder or robberies were robbed because they had iPods? Did they ask the victims? the perpetrators?

    Isn’t it more likely that something like the increased gentrification of inner cities (more people who can afford iPods walking around in areas that traditionally have higher crime rates) is to blame? What if it is just a coincidence that technology and society is changing in such a way that iPods and other MP3 players are becoming the best way to listen to music at the same time that more people are turning to crime because there are more poor people?

    I hope that this is a lesson for marketing experts—make sure you understand what the numbers are saying before you use them. Just a little critical thinking and common sense is a good cure for fear-mongering headlines. I am sorry for such a long post—stuff like this really gets my goat.

  4. Bart,

    LOL! But of course a limited edition. You do think like Jobs, don’t you?


  5. John,

    Agreed, the issue will diminish over time. But is there an advantage or a way to riff off the current buzz about the iCrimes to turn it to Apple’s favor?


  6. Lewis & Cam,

    No argument there. This really isn’t Apple’s fault. I’m not suggesting that it is. What I was wondering is…how could Apple capitalize on this? There’s lots of buzz around this iCrime report and trend.

    So, how could Apple’s marketing team actually make what appears to be a problem into a big win for them?


  7. Amanda,

    Never a need to apologize for the length of a comment. If you have something to say…have at it!

    You are certainly right — the report is hardly conclusive that iPods are causing the increase in crime. More, that it is an interesting correlation. It’s probably why Apple hasn’t done anything with it.

    But as a company who seems to thrive on making lemonade out of lemons — I wonder what they could do with it.


  8. Built-in pepper spray?

  9. Ryan,

    You emerge from the quiet — nice to see you! I can see them coming out with the limited edition now.

    It seems to me that a savvy company like Apple could/should make lemonade out of this situation. Don’t you think?


  10. Cam,

    LOL! I wonder if Apple has copy protected just about every word in the English language with an “i” in front of it?

    Sort of like Harley trying to protect the sound their engine makes!


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