I’m in the market for a netbook at the moment and while perusing the local eBay, I stumbled across something quite peculiar, this:
Yup, that’s a Nickelodeon-branded Dell netbook, which you could only tell if you were familiar with the green slime that the network does its best to remind you of at every opportunity.
What I thought was interesting though, besides the slime, was that it’s just an ordinary netbook!
So what did consumers get for their extra $50? They got a customized GUI and a year’s subscription to McAfee parental controls. A good deal? Hardly.
Never mind that such netbooks are now being sold as ‘rare’ and so forth. Did they sell well for Dell and Nickelodeon? It’s hard to say. Branding computers to kids has always been a risky business. Disney have been at it for years and have been known for products like this:
Amusingly enough, Apple managed to inadvertently appeal to kids with their iPad, and that’s when everyone realised that it all came down to software not hardware. All of which makes sense as computer games and the like have been a marketing tool for decades.
So why do studios and networks continue to push hardware? Higher profit margins perhaps? Or is it just the lure of having a perpetual impact on the consumer, one that remains no matter what software is running on the machine.
It’s a tough call, but I know that games tend to foster nostalgia whereas hardware is often relegated to the rubbish pile.