Droid™ vs. Android - Examining The Nuances of SmartPhone Marketing
They are often used interchangeably when referring to ever-growing & increasingly popular line of smartphones that run on Google technology. The difference, for most purposes, is one of legal definitions and intellectual property. Android simply refers to the operating system and software that powers phones built by any of number manufacturers, including HTC or Motorola, and that run on any of the major carriers.
Droid, on the other hand, is a term coined and owned by LucasFilm Ltd., the licensing rights for which Verizon had to purchase in order to brand their specific line of Android Smartphones.
You’d think the difference ends there, but those two little letters have had a much bigger impact that one might predict.
Now, what this essentially boils down to is how Verizon markets Google smartphones versus how every other carrier does, might, would, or should.
Just for comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at the Sprint HTC EVO 4G & HTC Incredible TV spots and the new & Droid X teaser for good measure.
What’s the difference? In my eyes, Sprint is trying to say too much, and to the wrong audience: Tell a story, tout 4G, claim market primacy, compel viewers to think “what could I do with 4G,” with their multiple calls to action. Oh and the phone has a kickstand…
I wouldn’t say it’s a terrible spot. What is it then? A traditional broadcast commercial promoting a very nontraditional piece of technology to an anti-traditional audience.
The consumer they’re trying to reach (or should be) doesn’t care about narratives. The audience that buys first-to-market smartphones, that understands “4G,” either already knows the EVO basics or can read about them online. In that respect, the messaging is (potentially) redundant. They spent money on that air time and could have created something bigger, rather than list the features of their phone.
Verizon got that (or their agency did). The commercial is thus about creating a brand, one built around a single defining concept idea – DOING (or ‘does’). Because they know their audience and their audience doesn’t care how pretty an iPhone is that can’t multitask or support USB, or if EVO’s run on a new and almost nonexistent 4G network.
And Note – Verizon’s tactics transcend manufacturer. The execution for the HTC Incredible is strategically aligned with that of the Motorola Droid X. That’s what building a brand is all about people.
So, where does this leave the other carriers? Should they emulate Verizon and try to build their own proprietary brand around Google technology, or is it too late for that? Do you disagree and think their spot would have been more successful if the phone itself wasn’t such a dud?
I used to work for the agency that represented, until recently, Verizon Wireless. I won’t go into the gory details of the McCann – Verizon – McGarry-Bowen situation, mostly because I don’t know them and don’t care to. I did, however, out of respect for my former employer, refrain from posting this until after I left (today being my first day at Advertising Age).
Any Thoughts Contained In This Blog, In Any Post, Are My Own, And Do Not Reflect Any Employer, Current, Past, or Future.