Want to make one of the most-watched clips on YouTube? Go ahead and bash the iPhone.
Create a peppy little piece of work that echoes the simplicity and musical stylings of an Apple iPhone spot. (This one features a cool chorus of "Oh ohs" from the MoZella song "Magic.") Except instead of showing the iconic Apple handset and flicking fingers, run boards with "iDon't" phrases in simple type on them, like "iDon't have a real keyboard" and "iDon't run simultaneous apps."
Then, provide a couple of seconds of hard clanking sounds and flashes of cold steel, with red and black highlights, and promise that "Droid does."
If the strategy was to drive iPhone fanatics batshit, mission accomplished.
So, kudos to mcgarrybowen for creating maximum buzz, for starters, as part of its $100 million campaign introducing the much-awaited Droid smartphone, a collaboration among Google, Motorola and Verizon.
I think the Apple bashing is smart. The company is such a sacred cow (to mix fruit and livestock metaphors), with so many ferociously devoted followers, that its various brilliantly designed and worshipped products were primed for a hit. And Apple can hardly get up on its high horse about it, or have a cow (to get back to the livestock metaphor), considering it does the same thing in its merciless and relentless pounding on poor PC in its hilarious, long-running "Get a Mac" campaign.
So, under the guise of being extremely simple, low-key, low-budget and sort of viral, the teaser is rough and tough. Of course, all those do's that Droid does are nice, but having an open operating system is not actually on my list of immediate needs. The biggest plus for most people on the coasts is that it uses Verizon's network and not AT&T's. (I guess that's a different campaign, one involving maps, over which AT&T is currently suing Verizon.)
All in all, it's a good spot. I can't say the same about the first non-teaser Droid launch commercial: the stealth-bomber one.
Sure, it's unusual for the category, and it gets points for trying something cinematic, which is so different for Verizon. (Can you hear me now?) But is the link supposed to be that both the planes and the device are black, shiny, design-y and stealthy? Having the planes fly overhead and drop steaming hunks of steel (with phones inside) on innocent folks seems tone deaf in these post-9/11 times.
And isn't this phone supposedly coming in peace, to help humanity?
The ad is also needlessly polarizing, creating an artificial divide between men and women. The target for this first Droid phone, it was announced, is young(ish) males, 25-34. But plenty of women would be interested in it, too. Why just write them off? Creating a war between iPhone and Droid users makes sense, not a war between the sexes.
Also, the whole approach just seems dated. How many products have been teased by showing people looking up in amazement at the sky? Lots. The planning for the stealth bomber began in the Reagan administration. And the imagery of the city and townsfolk who stand open-mouthed while looking skyward seems straight out of E.T., which seems strange if you're attempting to sell cutting-edge technology.
In the end, two guys in a pickup truck go to the steamy pile of something to investigate what it's all about. Danger, Will Robinson! Verizon, why bomb your own people?
The second spot leaves the idea of bombs behind, but also goes the super-mega-manly, industrial-strength malevolence route, to the point of parody. It's delightfully written and wonderfully graphic, though, making the point that robots are pretty impressive beings. But actually, they're rather primitive. Who in the viewing audience actually needs to crush rocks?
The spot compares the "semi-functional, giggling-brat-vanity" of an iPhone to the Droid's "bare-knuckled bucket of does." For the giggling-brat part, we see a roster of pink, blinged-out phones. Are they calling the iPhone a girly phone? 'Cause them's fighting words. It's one thing to say your phone can't take pictures in the dark. It's another to piss off people about their gender.
Two spots coming down the road, "Surfer" and "Homing Device" (both are already on YouTube), stay with the bad-ass robot motif, but are basic product demonstrations, except this time performed by a cold, dead, steel robot hand. Still, they manage to have a more likeable tone, with voiceover copy that's dense and cleverly written.
That's good, because with all the bombers and the robots breaking rocks, I didn't want anyone suffering from Droid rage.