Motorola's banana-mutilation ad disses iPhone
¿Que es muy macho? ¡El Moto Droid!
Motorola's latest ad for its Droid smartphone could reveal the company's choice of target market: men insecure about their virility.
In fast-cutting music-video style, the "Pretty" ad shows the Jaws of Life tearing through sheet metal, a missile thrusting towards its target, and a bandanna-masked faux gang-banger pelting a metrosexual mannequin with paint balloons.
Possibly the most overtly Freudian image is that of a power saw obliterating a poor defenseless banana and splattering its juices into the ad viewer's face like...well...use you own fervid imagination.
All of this ultraviolence is accompanied by a manly man's voiceover that's worthy of being quoted in its entirety, to wit:
Should a phone be pretty?
Should it be a tiara-wearing digitally clueless beauty-pageant queen?
Or should it be fast?
Race-horse-duct-taped-to-a-scud missile fast?
We say the latter.
So we built the phone that does.
Does rip through the web like a circular saw through a ripe banana.
Is it a precious porcelain figurine of a phone?
In truth, no.
It's not a princess.
It's a robot.
A phone that trades hairdo for can-do.
If there's even the slightest doubt of the identity of the aforementioned "tiara-wearing digitally clueless beauty-pageant queen," that uncertainty is dispelled by the ad's opening image, which mimics the cylindrical lucite case in which the original iPhone was displayed at its coming-out party in January 2007 - a mockery certainly not lost on the attentive Apple fanboi.
The iPhone's introduction at Macworld Expo 2007 (credit: Cnet)
The dissed princess phone in Motorola's "Pretty" ad - notice any similarities?
Moto's testosterone-fueled smash 'em, bash 'em ad blitz appears to be working - among half the population, at least. According to a recent report in Engadget, the BrandIndex trend watch compiled by the brand trackers at YouGuv shows that men 18 and over are taking Moto's macho message to heart - or, maybe, to some other portion of their anatomy. As Apple's share of masculine brand loyalty is sinking, Moto's is rising.
But the campaign is clearly a gamble. The "Pretty" ad takes potent potshots not only at metrosexuality - and, it takes little image-decoding to determine, homosexuality as well - but also at women. Enticing half of one's market with strong imagery is one thing, but insulting an equally broad swath of the check-writing public is dicey at best.
It's not immediately clear why Motorola has chosen to paint itself into such a tight corner. Reviews of the Droid have been mixed, but generally favorable. Although greybeard Stewart Alsop may have branded it as "truly terrible", the majority of the punditocracy have sided with either PC Magazine, which called it a "powerful new competitor" to the iPhone, or Ars Technica, which in its typically exhaustive manner took six pages to decide that the Droid is "good enough".
But maybe we at The Reg are over-analyzing what is, after all, merely 30 seconds of "made you look." Watch the full ad, and decide for yourself:
Even after repeated viewings, that banana burst still makes us feel a wee bit uncomfortable. Maybe buying a Droid would make us feel more secure. ®
Did you really take a marketing class?
First of all of the phone makers have had proprietary OS at one point or another. It is a very good thing that most of the phone vendors deciding not to "roll their own" operating systems anymore. The Iphone's success vividly illustrates how users were desperate for a smart phone with well designed user interfaces and a functioning third party software developer market.
Secondly did you ever take a marketing class? It's called market segmentation. The Droid and IPhone are both well designed phones, but the feature mixes appeal to different market segments. Apple had first mover advantage and chose to replicate their desktop strategy that relies on creating the impression of extreme ease of use. Google has crafted a reactive strategy that is analogous to Microsoft Windows (the HW vendors battle it out and we control the SW) and attempts to grab the market share that Apple left on the table.
The tech savvy individuals who consider themselves power users and are not put off by complexity and see technical difficulties as technical challenges to be overcome. This population resents being kept in a "walled garden" and will serve as the pioneers who blaze the trail. In broad terms this Ubergeek population skews male and the ease of use population skews female. Clearly there will be individuals in both groups who do not fit this model, but successful marketing is about understanding the large scale market dynamics.
In short the droid is positioned to cleave off a hunk of the Iphone's male demographic. The Iphone will continue to be more attractive to people who put a premium on ease of use. Once the droid is established as a successful smart phone there is no reason that Motorola can not put out a new ad campaign that stresses ease of use, or reduced cost, or more carrier choices.
This is just a short term strategy that accomplishes a short term goal. They need to unseat Apple's Iphone's hegemony so that average smart phone customers will consider a droid.
The one valid point you touched on was that Mot is one of a pack producing Android phones. Under the Android banner strategy there are two winning strategies. Either be the lowest cost lowest common denominator android (Nokia or Samsung if they go droid) or be the technological leader. If you notice Mot's Droid in Android 2.0 whereas the others are at Android 1.5 or 1.6. This signals that Mot is following the second strategy which is better for Mot since they cannot do the economies of scale thing as well as others.
Given the options that were available to Mot this strategy is better than most. I hope they stick with it and be the preferred Android manufacturer.
LOL!!! The Princess Phone...
I guess we can't call the Jesus Phone anymore!
>"30 seconds of "made you look." Watch the full ad, and decide for yourself:"
A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. So I didn't watch the ad (thanks, flashblock!).
Also, you just lost The Game.