Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is this the Droid you're looking for?

And in this corner, weighing in with an impressive combination of hardware and Google brand strength, all the way from Verizon, we have the Motorola Droid. The official teaser campaign has launched, and the iPhone challenge has been issued. Could the Droid be the the first potential iPhone killer?

The spot blatantly mocks Apple's white space, catchy music, and ironically calls out the iPhone's shortcomings with "iDon't". All of this comes to a screeching halt with the Droid's edgy and aggressive takeover, finishing with "Droid does." We don't get to see the Droid yet, but the interruption and web site boldly encourage us to "deactivate our compromise".

The thing to keep in mind here is that Motorola owned the mobile phone category before iPhone. The Motorola Razr was a huge success. Unfortunately, they rested on their laurels. As pointed out in Do you matter?, the company simply applied the Razor veneer to new products. Instead of creating the next experiential step, they chose to imitate instead of innovate. They go on to test the level of Motorola's relevance in a post iPhone world:

A Stanford University engineering class was asked, “Who cares if Motorola goes out of business next week?” One person raised his hand. They then asked, “Who cares if Apple goes out of business next week?” Most of the class raised their hands.
Apple matters. They have mastered the choreography of the experience people have with their company through design and points of brand contact. The question is, will Motorola matter again with the Droid? Let's watch as the ad battle begins.

[The title of this post was inspired by Star Wars]


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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Knowing a little about a lot.

Creativity is a place where we can get lost in the possibilities. The "what if" is by far my favorite part of advertising. Concepting requires us to bring a lot of randomness and research to the table. It turns out most of us creative-types have been collecting cultural information for most of our lives. Sooner or later we pull from this eclectic reserve. "You know that movie that starred so and so and had this guy who did this one thing?," "Now that you said that, it makes me think of this." "The brand could definitely own that." And so it goes, the creative catalyst response. We laugh, we share loosely connected anecdotes, improv scenarios (sometimes with unrelated accents), and at some point reach an insightful conclusion. The actual process cannot really be defined, it's essentially disciplined chaos.
"The process is always more enjoyable than the result." – Diablo Cody
In the end, no matter what the delivery vehicle, the core idea is the true currency. Art & Copy captures the exuberance of advertising when an idea significantly affects culture. Effective communication combines meaning with entertainment. Sometimes pulling from personal experience or authentic passion. And every now and then, with a little luck, it can be transcendent.


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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Competition and the ongoing quest for differentiation.

Competition: It's our biggest obstacle in brand positioning, but at the same time offers a chance for differentiation. There would be no need for advertising without competition. What has been done vs. what could be done. There is always a better way, even though it's hard to believe while in the midst of a supposed moment of genius.

Competitive Nature: My sister and I could not even play board games together unless we were on the same team, in which case, no one really wanted to play us. I went out for sports, she went out for band. It was safer that way.

In retrospect, I owe a lot to my time in the pursuit of general athleticism (volleyball, basketball, track, tennis, gymnastics, whatever the season was, etc.). Sports kept me out of trouble, pushed me to challenge myself, and allowed me to offset my art geek/academic side. Of all the sports, I have the most gratitude towards basketball. It was the one that I had to work the hardest for. I was not the tallest, the fastest, or the most aggressive player. However, I found a niche where I could differentiate myself. I became the go to free throw specialist. This led to outside shots and a place on the starting team. As with anything worth working for, lots of practice and dedication.

Overall thought to this rambling post: Step outside your comfort zone. Challenge norms. What exists on a pedestal as the reigning brand standard will inevitably evolve. Find a niche, hone your skills, and always pursue the better way.

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