I read somewhere the other day how amazing it is that Apple have a core base of customers so dedicated that, in essence, they (the customers) pay for the privilege of testing Apple's products without diminishing their likelihood to buy the brand again (think of anyone who's bought a 1st generation Apple product vs. someone who's Dell laptop broke). You have to admire the strength of a brand that can do that. I tip my hat.
It got me thinking about fanboys, and which companies in the world actually have proper ones - as in people who treat brands like family members - i.e. I can critisize them, but you can't, people who would defend their brand against all competitors and allcomes, who find it hard to concede that their competitors could even have a sliver of positivity around them.
I could only really think of Apple and Nike (and maybe Nokia if you count @Whatleydude). The two brands that make it into 93.4% of case study decks - usually together (I never, never want to see Nike+ in a presentation again).
Both Nike and Apple have a Sith counterpart (Microsoft and Adidas), who they make more money than but end up being seen more revolutionary than. Ah, the power of communications at work. Now I think about it both Microsoft and Adidas have fanboys too, but I wonder if they are a result of/reaction to the fervent Apple/Nike fanboys? As in, listening to someone steamroller a conversation about how shit your choice was makes you get up and defend your choice?
While fanboys and girls don't really exist in massive numbers, they do make an awful lot of noise, especially online, so their comments do probably help form the opinions of normal people, who haven't really thought about it that much.