The DROID RAZR Ad: Failed Advertising

Verizon’s new DROID RAZR from Motorola should be a great phone. It has specs to compete actively with the competition— a 1.2 GHz dual core processor, Ice Cream Sandwich upgradable, 8MP camera, LTE, and it is the thinnest smartphone in the world at the time of writing. Motorola also added the RAZR moniker, well-known from 2004-2006 as the high-end expensive super sleek flip phone immensely popular (the price was lowered putting the popular phone within reach of the masses) before the arrival of the iPhone.  With the DROID RAZR, Verizon and Motorola failed miserably, once again, to advertise their great product.

In my opinion, Verizon’s DROID advertisements have never come close to describing the full potential of the phone. They are all similar in following a theme of a metal machine wielding a DROID phone while using lightning bolts, a dark room, and a bright red light to show off the phone. While the audience might associate the ad with “cool” or “awesome”, they don’t spend enough time with the actual phone. The DROID RAZR ad is the best example.

As seen below, the advertisement is an action movie—it starts with a batman-like race through the city to save a black box from evil. In the last 10 seconds of the one minute advertisement, it is revealed that inside that black box is the DROID RAZR. It is “too powerful to fall in the wrong hands”.  However, no information is released about the phone, as it is seen for 5 seconds being held by four metal points at each corner.

Looking at the advertisement itself at face value, this is what one can deduce:

The DROID RAZR is a thin phone that is very powerful, and runs on Verizon’s network.

Also, it seems to have been stolen from Chinatown.

 That’s it.

Unless Verizon and Motorola are counting on TV watchers to finish the one minute commercial and look up the DROID RAZR, this leaves the potential customer with more questions than before. After all, there is such a wide variety of Android smartphones on the market, that Motorola and Verizon have to do a better job differentiating their product in such a saturated market.

This is a one minute advertisement where only 10 seconds at the very end have to do with the product being advertised. One could correctly argue that the average smart phone buyer is not interested in 1.2GHz vs. 1.0GHz, but the buyer does want to know about the thinness, the Kevlar back, and what differentiates this phone from the competition.

However, it is a tough task advertising an Android handset, as the only thing you can draw from to differentiate your product from the competition is to highlight the hardware changes. With the exception of a custom interface on top of Android, all of the software is Google, which all other competing Android handsets obviously have.