By Michael Harris-Arzon
The American consumer has come to rely on the innate credibility that only the largest corporations come to possess. I say innate because, let’s face it, no company can pass a certain threshold unless a major part of their business strategy is providing great products and the matching customer service that comes along with those products. This includes procuring and keeping their customers trust, no matter the cost.
For many things I have always possessed a split loyalty. For instance, I tend to buy clothes that I like, no matter the cost or brand. I mean let’s face it, pairing a pair of Armani Exchange Jeans with a T-shirt from Target makes an awesome look. That is how it is with almost all things in my life. But there have been a few companies that have made such an impression over the years that I wouldn’t change brands if you paid me to. Sprint is the first company that has garnered my loyalty and it isn’t because they have been my cell phone provider for almost 20 years, but the fact that they have always treated us right.
Another tech company comes to mind when discussing brand loyalty. And that company is Apple.
For well over a decade I have been a complete and utterly loyal Apple fan, to the point of fanaticism.
(Makes for interesting debates with my brother Steve Walker, since he is one of Microsoft’s Top 50 Architects in the world!)
They initially became my brand of choice when I started running large marketing departments and entered the realm of advertising and graphic design. While I had large teams producing the work, I inspected and tweaked every piece that went pout the door. Macs have always been ideal for design work and didn’t hold the limitations of Windows based platforms. When iTunes, iPhones and iPads came out, I was one of those first nerds in line to get my hands on each HOT PRODUCT. I can’t tell you how many friends, family members and peers have run out to buy the next trend in technology. We all have this need to keep up with the Jonses or Harris-Arzons of the world. And I am the first to admit that for a number of years I was part of that small group of trend setters and even hold that official distinction from REAL Trends, Inc.
Apple has become such an integral part of my families daily life, that I have become TOO TRUSTING with their Recommendations, Featured Products, Parental Controls and Restrictions. Once we had purchased the Apple TV our household became a mini store with the number of Apple products we used on a daily basis. We are a family of 5 and our 3 children are so tech savvy that I I have started asking our 10 year old daughter, Onyx, to help me with graphic design and web mapping projects.
Between the lot of us, our household possesses:
- 2 Apple TVs
- 4 iPhones
- 5 iPads
- 3 iPods
- 1 Apple Watch
Over the past 5 years we have spent almost $10,000 on hardware, movies, music and Apps. This number does’t even include the peripherals like multi chargers, Bluetooth keyboards, Bluetooth Speakers in every room etc…We have been so trustworthy of Apple that we have let our eldest child open her own iTunes account (that is linked to my bank account) and as long as she stays within her monthly budget she can order about anything as long at it fits within our xset guidelines for usage.
About two weeks ago, Onyx came to us and said she had found a new movie in iTunes she wanted to buy and watch with the whole family for our weekly movie night. The movie was SMOSH and according to iTunes it was rated PG so we told her to go ahead and buy it and we would watch it.
This turned into one of the biggest nightmares I have ever faced as a parent. We were about 15 minutes into the movie when I realized that there was no way this was a PG movie. I crabbed the iPad (which is always close to hand) and looked up the movie for details. I was shocked that iTunes had rates SMOSH as a PG movie. My instincts went into over drive and so my husband and I both went to the web to see what the true rating of the movie was. Lo and behold, it is actually rated PG-13. We sent the kids to bed and spent then next few hours talking about Apple and how our trust in them had been completely destroyed.
In the trailer for the film, there was a reference to a microphone going up the main characters butt. To us it seemed like it was just one of those instances that would go right over the kids head. Lots of movies do this as a way to get adults to watch the film as well. But once the film got rolling, there was plenty of crude and sexual humor, truly awful language, drug usage and references and list goes on and on and on. I personally think this movie should have been rated R. The rating agency has made a huge mistake in their rating of the movie @SMOSH.
The next movie, all three of the kids started asking if they could finish watching the movie. They also started bombarding us with questions about scenes in the movie that they simplt couldnt comprehend. The main problem is that the movie is very funny, but gets kids asking about secualk situations, drugs and so much more that I want to blow my top every time I think about this.
Apple and iTunes has DESTROYED MY KIDS CHILDHOOD and forced them to grow up much faster than I would like.
Since the day we adopted all three of our kids, we have done everything we could to keep them safe, keep their innocence intact and encouraged them to be kids as long as they can. I mean, how do you explain what it means for someone to have a microphone shoved up someones ass? Or explain why a character called another character a “sexy little bitch'”.
Over the past few weeks we have had more discussions about uncomfortable situations than I ever care to have again with my kids. It has taken me this long to get this down on paper with out blasting iTunes and Apple for the damage they have done to my kids and our quiet little family.
As I sat down to right this story today, I noticed that iTunes finally had changed the rating to reflect PG-13. The first thought I had was “How many other families have been experiencing the same nightmare that my family has gone through?” While I am glad they have corrected the problem, we are still in the process of speaking to a lawyer about a possible civil suit against Apple. I will never have complete trust in their company again and just pray that my kids can be persuaded to completely forget they ever saw the beginning of that movie.