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.

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Are the Days of Unlimited Internet Numbered?

With AT&T’s announcement of capping DSL broadband to 250GB, one must wonder, is the age of unlimited internet ending? After all, the government of Finland has declared that that broadband of 1 Mbps is a human right. If water and electricity are considered human rights, you’ll realize that both are metered. Without paying a high flat-rate, you pay for what you use. Why should the internet be any different? There was a time when electricity was unlimited, but as devices required more current and infrastructure costs increased, metered pricing was necessary.

AT&T recently introduced data caps for its DSL users

Caps, like what AT&T have instituted, are different than metered plans, the latter you pay for how much you use, and the former creates a limit where the charge will be higher.

A world of capped internet is not in the immediate future, but it may change the internet dramatically. In the dial-up age, internet connectivity was slow, so websites were optimized for the 56k connection, and simply loaded text and content.  When broadband became mainstream, websites responded becoming more interactive and multimedia oriented. Websites like Hulu and YouTube would not have attracted viewers, buffering wait times would have been too long. Even file-sharing only grew when peers had always-on unlimited broadband.

If internet usage was capped, how would users and websites respond? Gnutella clients and other peer-to-peer file sharing networks would take the largest hit, as they stream the most amount of content during the nighttime and all year long, whenever ­their computers are idle.

At first, not much would change for most internet users. Caps would likely be around the 250GB to 500GB mark, far more than what most web-surfers require. However, as bandwidth and hard drive technology has advances, the size of files moving through the internet has grown. Operating system patches and upgrades can be as big as 2 GB.  Verizon FiOS now offers 150Mbps download speeds, and Google’s fiber optic network boasting a theoretical 1 Gbps could be headed your way. At that speed, it would only take 250 seconds to fill AT&T’s data cap.  No file is that large today, but downloading large files from the cloud would require a second thought.  1080p HD Videos? 4K-ultra-high-resolution videos?  Bandwidth increases will soon be able to seamlessly support massive videos- one full-length 4K movie could require more than 100 GB.

Such actions taken by ISPs to cap internet usage would also have a large impact on Internet TV, increasing the price of Internet TV compared to cable. Running your TV for a few hours could be 8 GB. A month worth of watching TV for 3 hours every day would near 250 GB.

Such change isn’t likely, but it will be interesting to see how the internet’s content and information will evolve to meet and fit the guidelines of the capped (or even metered) broadband world.