16
Jul 10

Droid does coolness

Okay, so I’m a day late with this one. Just wanted to drool a bit over the Droid X teaser commercial that ran the night before yesterday’s launch.

I have to admit, this spot hooked me.

I’ve knocked Droid ads in the past for being 99% testosterone with little appeal to the female audience. I wouldn’t make the same criticism of this spot — it’s beautifully produced and, lo and behold, it actually has a story. The soundtrack is perfect. Mercifully absent are the cheesy effects and robot-macho trash talk.

Consistent with Droid’s we’re-not-Apple approach, no spot could be as far removed from Apple’s touchy-feely FaceTime spots as this. While Apple touts babies and relationships, Droid is on a cold, hard quest to uncover new technologies. I’m not saying Apple will suffer for it, only that the two worlds are night and day — just the way Droid likes it.

Bear in mind, this spot is just a teaser. Who knows what the full campaign will look like, but we can safely assume it won’t feature grandma and her new kitten.

I haven’t yet gotten to play with a Droid X, but from what I see of it online, it will give iPhone a run for its money. The huge screen looks amazing, though I’m curious to find out what that means for battery life. The fact that it’s available on Verizon puts even more pressure on Apple at a time when they’ve got their hands full with, uh, other issues.

In the meantime, I’m a sucker for a good story — and this spot does its job well. Kudos to whoever created it. Great work. (If anyone knows who the culprits are, I’d be happy to give them credit here.)

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  • ChuckO

    I don’t get it. What are they selling a movie? Is this preaching to the converted? Motivate all the fanboys to get out there first thing? Based on what I’ve seen they don’t want to get that big, ugly phone, never mind the software, out there for people to be confused by.

    It’ll be interesting to see where Android goes once Verizon stops buying it market share. Assuming it does but I figure it has too. How long can they keep giving one away when you buy one and promoting like this.

    They need to sell a lot more phones than Apple for this to make sense since the profit is spread out across multiple companies meanwhile Apple just keeps sucking up profit and innovating away.

  • ken segall

    @ChuckO:
    I wouldn’t believe this if I didn’t see it myself, but … now I leap to the defense of Droid! I’m looking at this spot purely as marketing, and purely as a teaser for a campaign to come. If the job of the teaser is to provoke interest, it worked on me. I imagine it worked on others who aren’t necessarily Droid people too. Then again, I’m a sci-fi fan. And then again again, what’s far more important is (a) how good the phone turns out to be, and (b) what kind of marketing follows. We’ll soon find out about both.

  • ChuckO

    @ken, “(b) what kind of marketing follows. ”

    Thats what I’m wondering and why I wondered what the point of an ad like this is. It’s not really advertising the phone like iPhone ads do. Is it a rallying cry for Android fans so they are out there hopefully forming lines on day one and then later regular ads start?

    I just wonder what audience there is for this phone outside of sci fi/tech spec fetishists if they do want to change the tone of the ads.

    I’m not a big Gizmodo fan but this review sounds right:

    Droid X Revu

  • Micah

    In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the follow up to that spot. Very well produced and a good delivery on the setup of the first one in my opinion:

  • Yeah, it’s a nice sci-fi spot, but let’s talk about the product itself.

    I’m betting my money that you still won’t be able to draw a straight line on the Droid’s inconsistent touchscreen:
    http://tinyurl.com/ybb2y7q

    And I’m not even going to go into the dozens of other deal-breakers with the Droid.

  • ken segall

    @Micah:
    That YouTube video has been taken down, but I’ll keep nosing around.

    @Scott:
    Not sure if the new Droid has the same issues as those old Droids. For their sake, I sure hope so.

  • Micah

    Try this:

  • ken segall

    @Micah:
    Okay, thanks. Guess they didn’t spend all that production money for a one-night run. I’ll be curious to see how people react to this.

  • Marian

    The ad seems heavily inspired from 2001 – A Space Odyssey
    I see an uncanny resemblance with the moon monolith scene.

  • wait. what?

    armor suited quasi-military personnel descending into a sci-fi Roswell-esque ‘secret’ bunker to obtain a piece of floating unobtainium while the word tomorrow take a painfully long time to reveal is NOT macho or testosterone filled?

    sure.

    it looks like any scene from the Doom, Resident Evil, Aliens, Predators franchises … complete with quasi-spooky music and actors catching their breath as they gaze upon the mystery object while saying not one single thing about anything …

    remove the Droid logo at the end and put in the titles ‘Aliens 6’ and you still would not have missed anything …

  • qka

    How can Apple tell a complete story in 30 seconds, and everyone else not be able to begin to tell anything in 60 seconds?

  • It replaces your arm with a futuristic prosthetic that is especially designed to use the phone?! Who needs FaceTime when you can get this?

  • ken segall

    @marino:
    A little jaded, are we? My point was that previous Droid spots were mindless techy robotic stuff with very little appeal to the female side. You may be tired of sci-fi themes, but at least there is a story here, and a story might actually draw someone in — no matter what their gender.

  • Paul

    @Ken:
    You really think this appeals to women?

    I think its appeal is still mostly to 15-year-old boys—just like all the other Droid ads.

  • ken segall

    @Paul:
    I think it could appeal to women in the same way that any popular sci-fi movie pulls in some women. At least there’s a story to follow. I’m certainly not saying it’s a huge draw for women, just that it’s not the outright turn-off the previous ads were.

    All that having been said, you may well be right. I was assuming that this was the tease, and that something entirely different would follow. I liked this spot as a piece of creative — whether it turns into anything that helps Droid is an entirely different issue.

  • not jaded, just calling ’em like i sees ’em … but alright, ken … i’ll bite:

    how does this appeal to women? anything COULD, but little DOES … especially in this spot, unless you mean the one female in the hazmat suit? that’s not appeal, that’s token. oh yeah, nice soft warm fuzzy shot of the dead soldiers cracked helmet on the floor at the door …

    what is the story you keep mentioning? spell it out, i came in on the special yellow bus … take away the logo at the then end and tell me what the story for a phone is?

    nicely shot, executed, CGI’d, etc … but i’m still missing the point that an idea would have delivered and that an execution didn’t …

  • ken segall

    @marino:
    I’m not talking about token women. I’m just talking about a simple story anyone can follow: People going on a mission. Nervous. Descending miles below earth. Seeing evidence of danger en route. Finally reaching their destination. Discovering strange object. Smells like a story to me. Again, this is in stark contrast to previous Droid spots, which were anything but a story — mostly special effects with robotic images and macho voiceover.

    As mentioned before, I’m certainly not saying this is a huge draw for women — however, it doesn’t exclude them, which is a step in the right direction. I don’t imagine a lot of women are rushing out to see “Predators.” But I saw quite a few of the female persuasion in the audience for “Inception” this week. There’s a difference between mindless video game action and a story.

    In 30 seconds, I don’t expect an Academy award-winning screenplay. Just something to perk my interest. As you know, the job of the teaser is not to tell the story of the phone. It is to say “something big is coming and you should pay attention.” By design, some of the world’s greatest teasers (like Apple’s “1984”) said nothing about the product.

  • Inception: Leonardo DiCaprio, explains a bit about the draw …

    1984: the narrative droning of the state overlord, the VO at the end and Ridley Scott all help tell the story of rising against oppression, rebellion, etc … still the the athlete throwing the hammer was a tad lame …

    Droid: so many better ways to have said all that and just how many teasers are they going to get?

  • Agree that this ad doesn’t alienate women. But still, the message is, Droid: our product is so awful we don’t show it in our ads.

    At least it’s better than the Droid = Kludge ad which I picked apart here:
    http://obamapacman.com/2009/12/new-verizon-ad-fail-iphone-beautiful-droid-kludge-which-side-are-they-on/