Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How you know a phone is rubbish

My ever perceptive wife Heather spotted something the other day about mobile phone adverts. They basically come in two flavours
  1. iPhone ads
  2. The rest
The difference between them is simple here are the apple ones, first from when it launched

and an "there is an app for that" one

Now for the competition: Samsung


and (with the Omnia)

and Google's Android (via HTC)

See the difference? The Mrs did very quickly: In one set of adverts you see someone using the phone, in the others you appear to be watching a film trailer that is starring a phone. Her point was that the reason she likes her iPhone is what it is like to use and she won't switch to these other phones because you have no idea how they work just that they are in an advert with as much depth as a perfume ad.

Now I'm no advertising genius but I can't help thinking that this means one of two things
  1. The other phones are a pain to use
  2. The advertising agencies doing the other adverts are rubbish
Now it could of course be both of these things but my betting is on the first one. What appears odd therefore is that in the time since the iPhone has been released that no-one has come close and had the balls to actually advertise people using their phone.

The Windows 6.5 advert that is on TV right now has a bloke holding a phone while people in FOAM COSTUMES with windows Icons on them look sad and then become happy because he has a new Windows 6.5 phone... I mean how bad is that phone to use if you won't even show screenshots but just foam icons?

There are lots of reasons why the iPhone is doing well but top of the list is usability. Interestingly other mobile phone companies keep trying to compete on things like "better camera" or "better windows integration"(!) rather than on the feature that people actually want: USABILITY.

So how do you know a phone is rubbish? If an advert does everything in its power to NOT to show you someone using it.

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Nick Malik said...

Advertising can be rubbish regardless of the product. In the US, for a long time, Toyota advertisements featured people jumping for joy. Sometimes there was even a car in the picture. GM ads always showed the car but never showed the driver or owner. Even today, this has not changed. Honda is running ads in the US talking about "someone you know loves a Honda." It's about people. GM still sells cars.

Who is going to win? Honestly.

You are right about iPhone ads. They are better because they are about the people who use the phone, not about the phone itself. Let's see if other ad agencies figure that out.

Abhishek said...

Thats an interesting analysis...I am not an iPhone user, i opted for the promising HTC G1 and i can tell you it is a pain to use.

I agree that phone manufacturers still need to realize that its the simple things that count.

Look at iPhone, everything in it is simple, simple to use, simple interface....nothing too geeky just simple, guess that i why they sell and others just compete with it....