Why Companies Plaster Ugly Stickers All Over Our Immaculate Laptops

Take a moment to glance down at your laptop. Chances are, you see a bunch of hideous, glittery stickers, with the names or logos of companies like Skype, Intel or Microsoft [Ed. Note: Nope! Just see white. Cult of Mac!]. Don't try and remove them, though. Scratching off these stickers, as with Chicken Pox, will only result in even uglier scars and residue. So, why are they there? The New York Times' David Pogue recently looked into the laptop flair phenomenon, and discovered that there's a very unsurprising explanation for all the annoying stickers most laptops sport: money.

Companies like Intel, Microsoft and Skype often pay serious amounts of cash to have their logos plastered all over consumer PCs. As Pogue points out, it's not even clear why some stickers are there in the first place. Anyone buying a laptop from Microsoft, for example, would likely already know that it's from Microsoft -- with or without an affixed sticker. Industry reps maintain that the stickers help sales reps identify showroom laptops when helping customers, although much of the very same information could just as easily be gleaned from retailer placards or from the laptop box. (The lone outlier, it should be noted, is Apple, which has so far refused lucrative offers to place an Intel sticker on its laptops, even though they come equipped with Intel processors.)

Fortunately, one company is bucking the tag trend. Advanced Micro Devices tells the Times that it will begin producing its own removable stickers in 2011, which can be peeled away without leaving any residue behind. After that, AMD may even do away with the sticker program altogether, which seems entirely reasonable to us. Companies like Microsoft and Intel certainly have some money to throw around, but is it really worth investing millions of dollars in an "advertisement" that, by all appearances, seems utterly ineffective? Indelibly marring an otherwise sleek laptop with an ugly logo isn't exactly the best way for a company to endear itself to clientele. Pogue facetiously suggests that these companies adopt a NASCAR-style program, by which it would directly pay drivers (i.e., laptop users) to carry their logos on their machine. An easier and more realistic solution, however, would be to simply scrap the whole idea. [via]

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