Thursday, July 22, 2010

Droid Commercials Are Missing the Mark, and Potentially Damaging

Since the new Droid X has sold out online for Verizon, one could go ahead and say that Android has been doing a good job of marketing the newest Droid phones. Here is the most recent commercial that I've seen for the Droid X, and every Droid commercial has been along the same vein: humans turning cyborg or being like machines when they use the Droid.

It's very hard to find smartphone user demographics by age group, but from what I've read around the web the typical Droid user is young, male and single. In this regard, the Droid ads seem to be hitting the mark: they are somewhat edgy and while I would not say cool, they definitely get you talking (I think they are kind of creepy, but although I am the target demo it does not matter what I think, it's what everyone thinks).

What I would like to suggest, however, is that Droid could be inadvertently shooting themselves in the foot with these commercials. For their current market, it makes total sense. But as they start to expand to some of the older generations and females, these commercials could scare off potential users. Here I breakdown why the commercial fails to bring in new demographics, and why it actually scares them away.

Older users:
- Phone appears to be scary and difficult to use. Commercials suggest you have to be a machine in order to use one, and the usability is not emphasized, if anything the ad seems to suggest "unless you're a young male, get the hell away from this phone!"

- The 'cool' machinery imagery might be a selling point, but almost all of those featured in the ads are by themselves and males. To some the commercials can be kind of scary, and the ads suggests that most of the users are loners.

This video has circulated the internet, but I think it does a great job of showing the type of misconceptions there can be regarding iPhone vs. Droid

WARNING: NSFW [Language]

While the video is of course satire, one point that I think it does a great job of bringing across is that less sophisticated users care less about the facets of the phone, and more about how it works and the applications one can use. In this regard, I think a good deal of Droid's billboards that I have seen in Portland, Los Angeles and San Francisco are excellent:

Picture soon to follow

Emphasizing this one point is very important. While the billboard does not necessarily sell viewers on the Droid, it introduces the concept that the Droid could potentially do as good or a better job as that performed by the iPhone in terms of applications.

Moreover, while the Droid adverts might be doing a great job in the near term, they are cultivating an image that the device is difficult to understand for non-tech savvy users and that it is not a sociable device (see above commercial). I strongly feel that Droid needs to shift their marketing effort to be more all encompassing with the understanding that the device will not always be able to grow in sales by finding more young, single males.

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