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Trying to connect the dots

June 24, 2009
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We probably shouldn’t admit this, but Avrin and I have spent the last two hours arguing about Cisco and its marketing strategies. This most likely sounds exceedingly dull and stupid to most of you, and yet it was probably the most heated argument the two of us have had with each other in a while. Since the end of 2006, Cisco has pushed its brand harder than ever before in its 25-year history. One of the more recognizable ads in its “Human Network” campaign is this one:

Cisco: The Human Network

(Cisco disabled embedding for the video so we’ll just have to link directly to it in the mean time)

This ad, and all the similar ones Cisco has put out, have bothered me for a while, as has Cisco’s branding in the latest seasons of 24. Granted, I didn’t believe that the phones that they used in 24 were real (I didn’t think Cisco made any hardware beyond routers and servers) until I saw this interview with the CTO. Before that, I thought that Cisco were just making these abstract commercials which highlighted what their networking solutions could do for other people’s inventions, rather than creating hardware for us to consume. Then I found out they make teleconferencing hardware and software, but only market it towards businesses. As such, we’re left with commercials that advertise products they do in fact make, which they could sell to us at Best Buy and Wal-Mart, and yet they don’t. Avrin, in his infinite desire to play devil’s advocate whenever I get annoyed by something, made the completely valid point that Cisco is just trying to increase brand exposure within businesses, and aren’t too concerned with the little people. This guy essentially agreed with him. I couldn’t refute this until I found the physical products that Cisco already makes. Why make a product that looks like a consumer phone, place schoolchildren and homeowners in your commercials(not guys in suits), have a section of your website dedicated to non-business consumers, and yet not sell your products to us? If you try and buy one of these phones from local dealers in Philadelphia on Cisco’s site, all you get are corporate resellers outside of Conshohocken. No Wal-Marts. If Cisco is revolutionizing the way we communicate, why can’t we give them our hard-earned money?

We couldn’t come up with a good answer.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2013 1:33 am

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this page.

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