Mar 11

Motorola Xoom goes all Droidy

What exactly does the Motorola Xoom want to be when it grows up?

After briefly echoing Apple’s 1984 roots on the Super Bowl (an ad from Motorola), Xoom is now channeling the spirit of Droid in the ad you see here (an ad from Verizon.)

Gone are all traces of “liberation.” In its place we get everything that had previously been squeezed into Droid’s advertising: a series of macho sci-fi images accompanied by a male voice spouting tech specs.

It’s not hard to imagine the rationale: hey, if it worked once, why not just do it again?

Droid had to do battle with iPhone, which had singlehandedly revolutionized the smartphone category, and had a full year’s head start. Carving out its own personality in the face of Apple’s blatant humanity, Droid very consciously chose the cold, adrenaline-laced, futuristic path.

Now Xoom faces a parallel, but even more daunting task. It’s up against an iPad that’s revolutionized (and run away with) the market, has a full year’s head start, and connects emotionally better than any product in Apple’s history.

So Verizon’s tactic is obvious: let’s just go with what worked before. They’ve got Xoom walking in Droid’s footsteps, hoping to achieve the same result.

Its new ad is the love-child of the original Droid script and a copy machine.

But of course we always need to take advertising with a grain of salt. Ads alone do not determine a product’s success. In fact, one could argue that Droid has been successful despite its advertising. Rarely has a device used equally by men and women done so much to ignore one gender completely.

I know women who love their Droid, but not a single one who cared a whit about the ads. They read reviews, received a recommendation from a friend or discovered the phone in the store.

On the Super Bowl, Motorola dabbled with a Xoom storyline that might actually appeal to women. Now Verizon wants to sell some Xooms, so it’s time to get down to some serious testosterone (processor speed! gyroscope! memory!). It’s pure Droid, right down to its roboticized eyeball.

This is definitely not the kind of ad that will get Grandma thinking of Xoom as a way to get closer to the new granddaughter. But, on the bright side, it just might convince her to grab an electrified spike gun and take down an army of Necromorphs.

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  • Peter

    There are two types of ads for the Xoom. Ones created by Motorola and ones created by Verizon. The one you’re referring to is made by Verizon. The Superbowl ad was done by Motorola.

    That said, I haven’t seen any ads by Motorola for the Xoom since the Superbowl–they’re hawking the Atrix 4G.

  • ken segall

    Thanks for the clarification. I’ve revised this article accordingly, and will do 50 pushups for this oversight.

    But I did see this ad on TV recently, which is what prompted me to choose this topic.

  • Bmcfadden

    Ken — your headline for this posting had me laughing out loud — i hope “droidy” catches on as a (disparaging) term.

    I suspect 1) every wasted dollar of the Xoom advertising campaign is only helping Apple. They are raising awareness of tablets, and anyone (who is not retarded) will pick an iPad over the competition. And 2) the Xoom is DOA. I’ve heard reports of Xoom’s sitting around Best Buy stores with literally zero interest.

  • yetanothersteve

    I’m no ad pro, but the Droid campaigns made sense to me. You can’t out Apple Apple, you have to position against them. Contrast with MS who always seems to have Apple envy in everything they do.

    But I also had fun pointing out to my ten year old that “ever expanding Android marketplace” actually means “We don’t have nearly as many apps as Apple.”

  • Bmcfadden

    Ugh I just had to watch the “droidy” Motorola Xoom ad for the 100th time … Is anyone else bothered by the smug VoiceOver / tagline at the end of the ad:

    “The Motorola Xoom. Everything a tablet SHOULD be …”

    Oh ya Motorola? You are going to tell us how to do tablets right? Why don’t you call Apple and tell them … I’m sure Apple is disappointed with how the iPad is selling and could use some of that Xoomy magic to really kick things into gear.

    I went to Costco today and saw a pallet of Xooms sitting unsold. It was wall to wall, not a single one sold. The day before I was at the Apple store and they told me it may be more than a month before I could get an IPad.

    My advice to Motorola: Don’t be condescending and patronizing in your ads. It will just make you look even more foolish when you abandon the tablet market in a year or so.