Going down on mobile

It was one of those shadowy thoughts that’s given form by someone else’s words. Is it me or has mobile phone advertising gone off the rails? There’s a rant over at the-ad-pit about the new Orange ad. Watch it on his site.
I get the feeling that they have been getting odder or more pretentious – if I could be bothered I’d perform a search to determine whether this thought is true.
The problem is that the mobile companies don’t really seem sure how to pitch their wares. With handsets in the UK having reached total penetration years ago, we’re all familiar with them. Consumers have little inkling about where mobiles are headed. Unless they watch the Gadget Show, their perception of mobiles is one of gradual improvement. A new bell here. A new whistle there.
The mobile companies – handset manufacturers and network providers – are geared towards the implementation of really, really smart phones that’ll radically change the way we engage with media. PCs will decline and become obsolete as digital memory and comms capacity on mobiles multiply.
I think this is why we’re faced with some really vague advertising for this tech. The old 1-2-3-4 Orange ad heralded a revolution that, in retrospect, seems really mundane. But back then, it was relatively clear how our lives would be made easier.
The next great leap forward is happening in small shuffling steps. Describing the destination is impossible because we can’t predict the consequences of carrying so much power around in our pockets.


4 Responses to “Going down on mobile”

  1. 1 Charles Frith July 3, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    I’m way off being objective because I’ve lived in too many places outside of the UK. I don’t watch television (gasp), I think a mobile operator is pretty much the same as another except for coverage, swings and roundabouts on the tarrifs.

    But as an outsider I do like the ad. Its got a pretty chunky idea in it and could air on the only media I’ve watched consistently over the years CNN/BBC and make me turn over my shoulder (as I surf the net) and wonder who could be saying that.

    I’m not saying I’m right. But I am saying it works from here. I’m also of the opinion that advertising should work at an awareness level and polarising people is one way. Most, let me repeat most advertising is dull beyond belief. I’d rather upset a quarter of the world and delight a 1/3 the rest are indifferent anyway.

    I think you guys should be proud of Fallon UK (and the US are poppoing too). They’ve drawn a line in the sand. This is provocative work. Does it work? That remains to be seen.

    I will shut up now!

  2. 2 Charles Frith July 3, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Oh and one final point. I can sort you out with a Dick Tracy Watch no problem in China… They care less about the ads and more about the products!

  3. 3 oldvic July 7, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Interesting points, Charles, but I wonder whether the ads are hitting the right targets. Considering how many of us have mobiles, it seems to me that the cleverest, or even most imaginative ads, are appealing to those who are switched on to the possibilities of mobile, rather than to the masses. Then again, maybe that’s the plan – the thin end of the wedge. Not quite early adopters, but target those most likely to influence others to buy, eventually.
    Do they do R2D2 projectors over there? I’ve just seen one on the Gadget Show. Superb.

  4. 4 Charles Frith July 8, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Ha ha. The usual imitation cycle is two months for anything so except inferior but flash looking copies in September. You probably think I’m kidding.

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Self-important bit

I’m Victor Houghton, a, er... something or other in one of the UK’s largest advertising agencies. My job title has a comma in it, which is embarrassing. I’m the chief finder-things-outer with a splash of trends who is lucky to work with all the major functions of the agency, even though I am most closely associated with strategic planning. Everything in this blog has most probably been stolen from other, infinitely more talented people, although the opinions are most definitely my own and not those of the agency.

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