I recently watched Secrets of the Superbrands, a documentary about the relationship between consumers and the brands that shape our behaviour, our desires and our lives. Series creator Alex Riley made some interesting comments about the show in a preview article:
The Bishop of Buckingham – who reads his Bible on an ipad – explained to me the similarities between Apple and a religion. And when a team of neuroscientists with an MRI scanner took a look inside the brain of an Apple fanatic it seemed the bishop was on to something. The results suggested that Apple was actually stimulating the same parts of the brain as religious imagery does in people of faith.
The concept that Apple fandom is a religion is clearly attention and headline grabbing (and did make me watch the programme) but the neurological similarity isn’t surprising or particularly novel. You could almost certainly make the same observations about football fans, music fans, car lovers, and so on, the list goes on, and whatever object of desire makes your heart beat faster will resonate in the neural patterns of your brain.
As to whether there’s something particularly intense, sustained or worshipful about the relationship between the Apple brand and Apple owners, I doubt it, I just think it’s down to very clever marketing, brand management and customer service.