Pacquiao is no match for iPad
MANILA, Philippines—Even Pacman’s vaunted star power was no match against Steve Jobs and the world’s biggest company.
The digital world is abuzz with talk about the sudden—though not unpredictable—demise of HP’s TouchPad, hitherto billed as a promising alternative to the vastly popular iPad and Android tablets.
It apparently made no difference that HP had tapped boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao as its celebrity endorser. Boxing pundits saw the endorsement as further validation of the eight-division titlist’s growing crossover appeal.
But just two months after the TouchPad was released, its company decided to pull the plug because of poor sales, according to several news and technology websites.
“Pacman’s star appeal didn’t work,” said Royce Roy, a Bay Area marketing specialist who was able to purchase one of the last 16g TouchPads available at a heavily discounted price tag of $99 at Best Buy electronics store.
HP opted to slash TouchPad’s price by $250 in an effort to recover part of the $100 million it was expected to lose because of the decision to stop selling the tablets, according to an article in www.thenextweb.com.
Just last month, HP released a 31-second TV ad featuring Pacquiao, the Saranggani lawmaker who is also acknowledged as the best fighter pound-for-pound on the planet today.
The ad shows Pacquiao discussing how he conquered doubts about his boxing skills, political acumen, and lately, his ability to make it as a singer. All the while, he is holding a TouchPad in front of his face, flicking through its variety of features.
“Now, I’m trying to make it in music,” the congressman says in the ad, which shows a clip of his duet with Dan Hill as they sing “Sometimes When We Touch.
“Haha, millions of hits,” he ends, referring to the song’s online clip.
In an article in www.zdnet.com, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes identified four reasons behind TouchPad’s downfall.
Among them was what he called “The iPad Effect,” referring to the popular gadget manufactured by Jobs’ Apple Inc., which became the world’s biggest company earlier this month.
“In order to try to compete with the iPad, HP developed a tablet with a design and the tech specs similar to that of the iPad, priced it like the iPad, spent a ton of money on commercials featuring celebrities, and pushed the tablet out to big retailers in huge quantities,” he wrote. “And still no one cared about the TouchPad.”
The reason, he pointed out, was that “people are buying the iPad not because it’s a tablet, but because it is an iPad.”
“Apple has NOT carved out a market for tablets, Apple carved out a market for the iPad. Think about it: When Apple released the iPod back in 2001, did this create an enormous market for media players? No. It created an enormous market for the iPod,” he said.