Posts Tagged ‘Tech’

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?

Disclaimer:

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).

Disclaimer 2:

Any Thoughts Contained In This Blog, In Any Post, Are My Own, And Do Not Reflect Any Employer, Current, Past, or Future.

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Remember Google’s ‘groundbreaking’ Super Bowl Ad – “How To Impress A French Girl” [AKA Parisian Love] as seen via search engine magic? Well, now you can create your own. Check out the demo and my own crude attempt, titled “My Day In Google Searches.”

What do you think? Gimmick? Utility? Fad? Not Even?

I won’t go into all the ramifications of Facebook’s new social plugins and bid to dominate the interwebs. You can check out the Carrot Creative Blog for a nice little “what it means for you” recap, along with Mashable’s constant, sometimes in depth/sometimes superficial, coverage of the new tools and announcements, as well.

What I’ve noticed is that the tech battles that are currently brewing transcend industry or product. To name a few:

Facebook  vs Twitter vs Foursquare

Facebook vs Google

Google vs Apple

Google vs Microsoft & Yahoo

My question, as such, is – if you were to relegate control of you entire online behavior and identity to one of these dominant entities, which would it be? Which brand engenders trust? Functionality? Personality?

We may not have to actively make this decision in the near future, but we are passively acknowledging its growing preeminence it every time we go online. Sooner or later – and probably sooner, Facebook’s open social graph will collide head on with Google’s open ID, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple launched an alternative – anti-culture – subversive  – nonconformist version of the concept: One ID to rule them all. Add to that the truly independent competition – the open source Wikipedia/Firefox-ish rival.

In fact, it may – and probably will – boil down to what browser you use as your portal to the digiverse – Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or the inevitable Facebook Browser that will be the culmination of their efforts to connect the web and infuse Facebook’s presence in every online destination.

So – I ask again – if you had to turn over near-complete control of your online activities to one of these brands – insofar as they will manage you – your email, social activities, functions and features, web browsing, shopping the advertisements you receive, your financial information, etc… to provide a seamless, integrated and unified experience – Who would you trust? Who would you prefer as your Internet partner-in-crime-and-everything-else? I know I trust Google to develop functional tools, I trust Facebook exploits my personal information to create a more socially enhanced experience – even if it is at the cost of my privacy. I trust Apple do design innovative and aesthetically pleasing “things” that boast superior user experience and interface, but may lack in the features/functionality department (Can someone say MULTITASKING?)

Anyway…PLEASE weigh in here and in the comments. Thanks!

Consumers Follow Social Brand Referrals
http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007630

Consumers Follow Social Brand Referals

National Study Reveals How Teens Are Shaping & Reshaping Their Wireless World: Study Sheds New Light On Teens’ Cell Phone Habits, Expectations & Dream Phone Wishes
http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/allnewsbydate.asp?NewsID=1334

Man uses briefcase GPS to draw self portrait across the whole planet
http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/man-uses-briefcase-gps-to-draw

Glympse Brings Real-Time Location Sharing To Facebook
http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/15/glympse-brings-real-time-location-sharing-to-facebook

KFC Puts the SPIN on the Double Down Sandwich
http://www.spinsucks.com/advertising/kfc-puts-the-spin-on-the-double-down-sandwich/

What is GEOFocus, and Why Did We Launch It?
http://www.ianschafer.com/2010/04/what-is-geofocus-and-why-did-we-launch-it.html

Hoodie Updates Your Facebook Status With Gestures
http://www.geeksugar.com/Hoodie-Updates-Your-Facebook-Status-Gestures-8110276

Yahoo Scientist Questions ROI of Kardashian’s Sponsored Tweets
http://adage.com/digiconf10/article?article_id=143301

Google Suggest Becomes More Local
http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/16/google-suggest-becomes-more-local/

My Primary Sources Of Info:
http://twittertim.es/Aerocles
http://www.emarketer.com/RecentArticles.aspx
http://mashable.com
http://techcrunch.com