What’s the Message?

So the dreaded Facebook phone was just released recently, and so begins another round of commercials dedicated to selling you the latest gizmo you probably don’t need. Wait a minute. This actually looks pretty good.

We’re about to step into the dangerous territory of smart phones. I’m not a technology expert. I have friends that could recite hardware specs, advantages and disadvantages of one Operating System over another, and give you a 12 page consumer buying guide they created at 2:34 pm on a Sunday. No, I’m not an expert on hardware or software, but I do work in the Advertising industry, and since I havent found a better hobby that isn’t related to my day job, we’re going to talk about some Ads.

I’m not going to go into the crazy behind the scenes business practices between phone manufacturers and service providers, mostly because I’m not an expert, and most of it is guesswork, but the end scenario is the same: Service Providers are usually the ones with the bigger budgets to spend on advertising for a new phone (Exceptions may be the iPhone & the Galaxy). That and there’s all sorts of exclusivity agreements and blah blah balgh. I rarely see a commercial from HTC, but I will see an AT&T or Verizon Commercial featuring a HTC Phone, usually with some sort of caviot with plan details at the end.

So here we have the new AT&T commercial for the Facebook Home. Full disclosure, I Actually have Verizon with a two year old HTC Incredible 1, so I’m not pushing AT&T or anything, it just happens to meet the criteria for the examples today.

It’s really simple and elegant. Yeah, maybe it might be a bit much to imply that your friend’s facebook statuses are equal to that of art in a museum, but it does enough to show how their phone stands out. It has enough product action shots for you to see ‘Why’ their phone is different, and it also has enough emotional messaging with a touch of humor at the end when the old guy  says ‘us girls’. It’s a great balance, I think. It’s not enough to tell someone to buy your phone; you want them to want to buy your phone. You leave the experience with an emotional attachment to your friends as art, an understanding about what the software brings to your phone that your current phone does not, and you get a giggle at the end. Let’s compare that to an earlier AT&T commercial for the Nokia Lumia 920

I love Will Arnett. I know his shtick and I get the unnecessarily lavish lifestyle gag they’re going for with his tiger print sports car in front of a decadent home, and of course the ever popular oil-painting-of-myself bit at the end. But at the core of the commercial, both the HTC Home & The Lumia 920 are trying to do the same thing; Show off the features of a software enhanced phone. but which one does it better?

It’s not exactly fair to compare an emotional message with a humor based one, but at the end, what are the two ads saying? “This Phone Has Twitter” is all I really got out of the Lumia commercial, and even if the Home commercial is essentially the same thing except “This Phone Has Facebook”, it does enough to show that it has a completely different Facebook experience; one which you haven’t experienced.

I’m actually a big fan of the Windows Phones, and I’m looking into getting one to replace my two year old brick. I know that these phones have so much more to offer, and it’s disappointing to see that it’s not reflected in the marketing, but hey, That’s just me.

What do you think? Which ad do you think is better? If you had to choose between these two phones based on the ads alone, which would you choose?

EDIT: In a conversation with a colleague, he stated “who are your friends, if not a curated group from everyone you’ve ever met.” Well done Facebook Home Ad.

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One comment on “What’s the Message?
  1. Have to agree with the lack of advertising from the likes of HTC and Nokia, but I currently have a HTC desire X, it does everything I need and more, but I don’t feel an emotional attachment to it, but looking at the Nokia 920, it creates a nostalgic effect two past giants on the comeback trail, I’d like to see the two playing this up abit almost a welcome home, marketing style I understand neither company would like to admit they slumped but it’s pretty obvious they did. Also the windows 8 browsing style works amazingly well as a smartphone layout, arguably much better on the phone than on the laptop.

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