Written by Michael House

Another September, another iPhone launch. Fully waterproof and complete with a ‘courageous’ step away from the much loved audio jack, the iPhone 7 is here. Unveiled amidst the usual fanfare, even banned journalists who showed up Apple’s typically ‘unusual’ comms strategy haven’t been able to de-rail what is widely being hailed as an exciting handset.

However, looking away from the actual device launch, you could argue the real success story is much closer to home: the seemingly inexorable rise of James Corden. The iPhone 7 might be dominating headlines, but Corden has provided the launch pad through his Carpool Karaoke skit.

It’s become such an international hit that everyone from the First Lady to Britney Spears wanted a piece of the action. As such, Tim Cook came clamouring for a guest slot that tied in with the iPhone 7 launch.

Not bad for a cheeky chappy who upped sticks from the UK to host The Late Late Show with most Americans asking on his arrival, “who the hell is this guy?” But fast forward to today and he’s a man most definitely having a moment. Sky is bringing his show to the UK and he even stared in Justin Timberlake’s video for his recent summer comeback tune.

But how? When Corden first found fame, he got a bit cocky and it came back to bite him on the bum. He learnt his lesson. In America he has been true to himself and not believed his own hype, something for which, ironically, Apple is renowned.

But at the heart of his reinvention is his canny use of integrated comms and multiple channels. Carpool Karaoke is available on YouTube after the show to audiences around the world, the show has built media alliances and Corden himself is an avid tweeter. As a result, he’s gone from a nobody to the person everyone wants to be friends with.

Brands, including Apple, can learn a lot from Corden. Know your audience, connect with them via the right channels and don’t try to be something you’re not. At a time when Tim Cook and co are battening down the hatches for a tax bill induced media onslaught, they could do well to bring their new mate down to Sacramento and pick his brains on how to win over an increasingly hostile media.

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