Archive for the ‘cellular phones’ category

HTC’s “Facebook Phone” Right on the Button!

August 15th, 2011

How’d you like to be a smartphone marketer employed by a company whose CEO is someone not named “Steve Jobs”?  No matter how brilliant your features or sleek your design, you can’t possibly compete with the iPhone’s cool factor.

Unless, that is, you leverage the power of the only brand on the planet that can give the Apple brand a run for its money among teens and twenty-somethings.  That brand, of course, would be Facebook.  And  HTC’s Status smartphone is the first and only phone to feature the familiar blue Faecbook logo in the form of a button that lets users update their Facebook status (hence the phone’s name) with the simple click of a button.  Ingeniously, the button even illuminates whenever you’re doing something on the phone that might make sense to share with your Facebook friends.

I haven’t used it, but a random sampling of online reviews suggests that HTC got more right than wrong with the design and engineering of this new smartphone.  And while it won’t be everyone’s phone of choice, all HTC needs to do is capture a small percentage of the roughly one billion Facebook users to have a decent hit on their hands.

This would likely be a bigger hit if the wireless carrier were someone other than AT&T (which it is) or Verizon (which it isn’t), as customers of those two carriers also have the option of buying an iPhone.

Still, I can only assume that whatever marketer or product manager dreamed up this innovative idea has significantly enhanced her or his status with HTC.

T-Mobile Rates an “L” for “Laziness” (and “Lobby”)

April 29th, 2011

When I was in my late twenties, I was a Marketing Director for a very large family-owned consumer products company.  The septuagenarian owner/CEO of the company, while an absolutely brilliant businessman, had a hard time appreciating truly novel, breakthrough marketing ideas.  Instead, he preferred what he considered to be the “safety” of knocking off marketing ideas that appeared to be successful for other companies.  Once, in the middle of an important meeting, he took a competitor’s magazine ad out of his suit pocket and asked, “Why can’t we do this?” I responded, “With all due respect, sir, because they’re already doing it.”

I can’t prove it, but I have a hunch that the CEO or VP Marketing of T-Mobile recently asked their ad agency, “Why can’t we do advertising like Apple?” And the result is this shameful knockoff of Apple’s classic “Mac and PC” ad campaign.  I’ve seen several ads from this campaign, and I can’t recall a single thing these ads have said.  I’m too busy wishing I were watching a “Mac and PC” ad…and thinking that I would never patronize a company that can’t think for itself.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but in marketing, it’s also the surest sign of creative and strategic laziness.