Nov 09

I’ve got a crush on Cliq

Just when I thought I was losing my ability to love, comes this spot for Motorola’s new smartphone, the Cliq. Or is it the “Motorola Cliq with Motoblur”? Well, no matter how many syllables they throw my way, I’m sticking to my guns: I love this commercial.

The Cliq’s special power is that it merges contact lists, photos and social networking — Facebook, MySpace and Twitter — into one visual display. Not a bad concept for a phone. And a terrifically good concept for an ad.

In this spot, our hero stands alone in a desolate landscape with his Cliq. We then see his entire, mad, out-of-control world of contacts rushing to meet him — while he’s able to focus on the one contact he’s most interested in at the moment. The girl.

The idea is simple. But everyone who’s tried to turn a simple idea into something special knows how impossible it can be. In this case, they did everything perfectly. The acting is understated and natural. No one tries too hard (except for the wild hordes, but that’s what hordes are supposed to do). The girl gets one damn word, and it’s one of the most charming bits of dialog I’ve ever seen. It’s all in the body language.

But most of the magic is in the production. This could have been filmed a hundred different ways: in a different landscape, with different kinds of people, with different degrees of energy. And the editing could have gone a hundred ways as well. What we get is a frantic cast of thousands, dangerously fun action, with truly hilarious choices in depicting our hero’s “social network.” There’s an artful balance of high energy and dead quiet.

And, lest we forget, every bit of this action is devoted to delivering on the concept. Cliq’s reason for being is hard to miss.

Now let’s return to reality. iPhone became a juggernaut because it raised the bar by an order of magnitude. It’s hard to imagine any company outdoing iPhone by the same margin anytime soon. So the immediate goal is to simply take some wind out of iPhone’s sails. It’s too early to tell if Cliq is the phone to do that, or if future ads will be as good as this one. But I can’t watch this spot enough times. A big thank-you to everyone involved. (If anyone has the credits, please let me know.)

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  • honestly? it just seems like another ‘not a search engine, a decision engine’ play like was done for Bing…

    instead of millions of links popping into your mind and threatening to overwhelm you, you now stand to be buried under your social network…

    search results, or personal contacts, links, etc… same over promise to me, slightly different metaphors…

    the Palm Pre also had similar over-the-top hordes surrounding the red haired girl but it was done as much more poetic and orchestrated effort… the Cliq spot left me unconvinced, not curious or moved…

  • ken segall

    What I’m responding to here is purely the creative. Just personal taste. I love spot that reward me with new details every time I watch. Like the floozies (“personal email”) running down the hillside in their heels, the old guy in the walker joining the stampede, the outta-control van — it’s all very intelligently crafted. I think the creative team deserves credit. Whether or not the “bring it all into one place” strategy is enough to set the world on fire is a whole other question…

  • agreed, but being well crafted is not enough for me… there’s lots of stuff that’s well executed, orchestrated, cast, lit, shot and choreographed, that makes you like it for how it looks or plays out and i would surely compliment the film director and his crew… the agency CD, AD and Copy? not so much…

    but that’s me…

  • David Babsky

    “..take some steam out of iPhone’s sails..”

    No, wind is what sails use; steam is for steam boats.

  • ken segall

    Well, THAT sure is embarrassing. Kind of takes the wind out of my engine. I’m fixing immediately!

  • Hayman

    At the end of the day it seems that the best marketer will win. Apple iPhone is a good device but great marketing and tightly controlled. Palm Pre is a great phone with good ads but not enough to convince ppl away from apple thinking. Motorola dunno how the phone is, but good ad. Hope the movie is better than the trailer!

    A Palm pre lover unfortunately contracted to an iPhone due to its apps.

  • Hey Ken, a former co-worker of mine worked on the UI for these new Motorola phones (she’s now working for Dell!!), and she’s curious to know if you have any thoughts about the Droid “Stealth” ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9fXYQjwR0w

  • ken segall

    Oh, right. One of those “I have a friend…” things. I hadn’t seen this one before. Interesting that on one hand they’re teasing the Droid by specifically pointing out how it will beat iPhone — and on the other they’re just spending big bucks to do a great big tease. Might be worthy of a post! Thanks.