Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What iDon't, Droid Does

Verizon have launched an extremely agressive new advertising campaign, directly targeting Apple's iPhone. The strange this is, they won't tell us what it is they're selling! While it's clear that the device is a Google Android phone with a host of superb features, there is little other information available.

Debuting your ad during a Saturday night playoff game between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels is a sure fire way to generate a lot of attention. Usually that attention workd best if there is something to focus it on, a product perhaps. Considering that the last two/three weeks has seen a lot of twists and turns in the US mobile market, it would be safe to say that most people are still wondering what is going on. For months there were numerous rumours doing the rounds that Apple would would soon cancel its exclusive agreement with AT&T and allow the iPhone to be sold through other mobile networks. Then two weeks ago Verizon were seen to take an extremely public swing at AT&T with their new TV commercial. Then we have this latest add. So what's going on?

While the campaign creative may lack a brilliant creative it does have a certain je ne sais quoi. Perhaps it's just the thought of Samson taking on Goliath, as any mobile launch must now seem in light of Apple's bid for world domination, but it's fun to see someone taken down a peg or two (ok ok I don't yet own an iPhone). In the ad Verizon really don't hold any bars and hight the iPhone's potential failings: the lack of a physical keyboard, the inability to run multiple third-party apps simultaneously, the inability to take photos in the dark etc. etc.. The ad finally ends with "Everything iDon't ... Droid does. November."

"There's no summary about the product, and you don't know who the brand is," said Karl Barnhart, managing director and partner at CoreBrand. "It's clever, but you have no idea what this is for."

The ad also offers up a URL at th end -, which, if visited, brings users to a Verizon page featuring a countdown in non-recognisable numerals and an bit of dialogue - "Do you wish you had a robot sidekick that moved at light speed and lived in your pocket? Input your e-mail and Droid will notify you when compromise has been deactivated." The site has been created by McGarry Bowen, New York.

Whatever the phone may be, it's certain starting to brew up a lot of talk and speculation:

"It's unclear who they're aiming this campaign at," said Rene Ritchie, editor of The iPhone blog. "A lot of this is inside baseball, and seems to target people with particular pain points with the iPhone."

Roger Entner, senior VP at Nielsen, said "we've seen the Samsung Instinct try to bash the iPhone, but it didn't attract new customers," - when vendors take on the iPhone head-on, the device had better live up to its claims and all the ballyhoo.

"It's found a way to attack both sides of the story," said Andrei Jezierski, partner at marketing consultancy i2Partners. Referring to Verizon Wireless' push parodying the iPhone's "There's an app for that" campaign, which shows a map of Verizon's dense coverage area compared to AT&T's, Mr. Jezierski said, "Anytime you bash the iPhone, it's a great way to get attention, and 'There's a map for that' is a way for them to keep beating on the 'It's the network, stupid' message."

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