Who’s gonna buy it?

So a few days ago HP posted a video to their YouTube channel. It’s on HP’s channel, but the video is basically Adobe selling HP’s “Slate Device” for them.

Yesterday Apple premiered their television ad for the iPad during the Oscars.

It struck me, as it did John Gruber, that the iPad commercial is quite a bit like many iPhone ads. End users are the focus and we hear no explanations of what you’re seeing or how it works or why it’s there. You just hear a rock song and see people in comfortable, informal situations using the iPad with ease.

In Adobe’s demo video for HP’s “Slate Device” (I hope they come up with a better name than that. Or at least better than “iPad.”) the focus seems to be on the content providers rather than content consumers. Sure, there are references to real people using the device. But there’s a saturation of seller-oriented themes in there about content publishers, developers, content distribution channels, and “branded site experiences.” A user likely won’t mind opening a separate video player to watch a clip if the transition is executed well. But MTV doesn’t want you to miss those Flash ads “in context of the site.”

Adobe also uses Alexa metrics to indicate how many top websites use Flash and how much web video is served up using Flash. Users don’t care about these numbers, sellers do. Users might want Flash video, but with so many people unaware of what a browser is they probably don’t know that they want Flash either. They just know they want to see that skateboarding dog on YouTube.

I noticed a specific ding against iPhone’s/iPad’s lack of flash in Adobe’s video when they mentioned the ability to consume content without the need for downloading a separate application. This is pure conjecture (though I’d love some real numbers), but I bet that’s not a real problem for end users. Not all downloads from the App Store are fart apps and games.

Okay, so it’s not a completely fair comparison. The Apple ad is a TV spot and the Adobe video is a demo spot and not necessarily a commercial. It should also be noted that I haven’t used either device and, if it wasn’t already clear, I hope you know that I’m not commenting on the quality or performance of the gadgets – merely the messaging and my perception of each message’s audience.

It just seems strange that one of the earliest demo videos for this device would focus on content suppliers/sellers. Maybe it’s because Adobe doesn’t have to convince users to buy the “Slate Device.” That’s HP’s job. Adobe wants to sell Flash to content creators. Last I checked, though, content consumers outnumbered content creators, so I hope HP has another partner company lined up to shill this thing to the people who are supposed to use them.

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