Why the Lumia 900 Advertisements Will Fail
Last night I saw my first TV ad for the Lumia 900. While I'm both an Android and iPhone user, I've been impressed by the Windows Phones I've interacted with at stores and for the sake of competition really would like to see it take off. I was excited to see how the phone would be presented, hoping Nokia/Microsoft would finally start to understand what it is about phone ads that will actually get real humans talking about their product. I turned up the TV volume...
...and they blew it.
Here is the ad I watched:
Pop quiz: what did this ad absolutely fail to do? If you said, "actually show what the phone can do" then you'd be correct. The Verge team has discussed smartphone TV ads in their podcasts in the past, but this bears repeating as it becomes more and more baffling to watch companies get this so wrong so often. The ad's tagline is "Beautifully different" - but in the 60-seconds it spends taking back-handed swipes at Android, it never once shows any actual evidence of what makes the phone different.
Enter the obligatory comparison to Apple. The reason the iPhone generates buzz is because their ads show their product doing something interesting. In fact that's all their ads do. No cheesy humor, no celebrity ham-fests or elaborate set pieces. Apple simply shows a great looking device doing interesting things that normal, everyday people would find useful/fun.
Let's take another example: the Samsung Galaxy note. Personally I find the device ridiculous, yet I've actually had non-geek, regular, everyday friends/co-workers ask me about it - why? Because the ads simply show the device doing something interesting, namely using a stylus. Do people really even want to use a stylus? Who knows - but the buzz has been generated. But instead, Nokia/Microsoft created an ad that simply passes by without any impact or any reason for the general public (who may or may not take offense to being called 'stupid' for having used a 'beta-test' phone) to care.
What's so frustrating is that Nokia has all the perfect pieces in place here: the Lumia 900 is a beautiful piece of hardware and Windows Phone as an operating system can do 'smartphone tasks' in some truly useful and interesting ways. Why are companies keen on lifting some of Apple's actual phone innovations yet seem to completely miss an obvious advantage in Apple's marketing technique?
Here's another Lumia 900 ad:
This one at least shows the phone being used...but the guy just plays a video. Literally every smartphone phone produced in the last 5 years can do that. The rest of the ad is a pitiful sit-com about being impressive to women.
So what do you think? Is any Windows Phone going to actually penetrate the mindshare of regular, everyday people if they don't actually show the phone doing useful/interesting things?