November 14, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
The HTC Rezound may be the first Android phone with Beats Audio released in the United States, but it has another distinction – it’s also one of the few phones launched with a commercial that isn’t terrible.
Since 2009, we’ve complained repeatedly about the awful commercials associated with Android products. Despite those protests, manufacturers and carriers have insisted on either overly-technical spec recitals or just plain bizarre imagery. (I’m looking at you, HTC Rhyme.) With the Rezound, HTC and Verizon seem to have finally struck the chord that balances a phone’s virtues and the desire for its advertising agency to flex its creative muscle.
The Rezound commercial opens with a hip city dweller emerging from the subway and starting music playback on his new Beats Audio-equipped phone. He’s oblivious to his environment caving in on itself, much like that sidewalk cafe scene in Inception. Our friend is too busy enjoying the sound of his music to care. When a phone call interrupts the song, he answers, has a three-line conversation, and then the music cuts back in as he goes about his day.
On its own merits, this isn’t an amazing advertisement, but it’s comparatively fantastic for the simple fact that it’s a focused message about the product. Viewers see the 30-second video and learn that the HTC Rezound has audio so good that you won’t care about what’s going on around you. Sure, Verizon could have talked about the amazing screen, fast processor, or Android software, but it focused on the distinguishing music feature and slipped in a line about 4G LTE. There’s no need to mention how many cores are in the processor if the average consumer still doesn’t know why dual-core is a good thing.
The lesson that Android phone makers have failed to grasp is that the average consumer wants to know what the phone can do, not what it’s made of. Yes, there’s a sizable and vocal audience of spec hounds that bloggers and tech media admittedly feed into, but television advertisement shouldn’t always be geared to us. Commercials should target our friends and family who don’t invest as much time reading blogs but are still into gadgets or cool features of their phones.
The original Motorola Droid campaign was incredibly spec-heavy, but that was an exception to the rule that spoke to the mobile climate at that time. Android wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now, and Verizon pitched the Droid as super-charged machine sent to wreak havoc at the puny iPhone that couldn’t stack up against it. Verizon was successful with those advertisements, but as we’ve seen with the poorly-communicating ads for the Droid Bionic and Motorola Xoom, bombarding consumers with technical details they don’t understand isn’t always a great solution. Sometimes, it’s best to just find one feature or defining element of a product and play to that strength.
In other words, shut up and let the music play.