Advertising- Mobile Phone Category

Analyses of advertisements for Apple iPhone, Blackberry and Nokia

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For the analyses of TV ads in the mobile phone category, ads for Apple iPhone (“Read”), Verizon BlackBerry Storm, and Nokia N96 (featuring Bruce Lee playing ping pong) were chosen. Brief description of each TV ad is as follows:

The Apple iPhone ad entitled “Read” features the different applications available in the iPhone 3G. It shows a close-up image of the iPhone itself, with the user acting as “navigator” for the viewers to see the different applications of the phone. Three (3) applications are featured, demonstrating how users can view blogs, photos/pictures as complex as MRI images, and e-books where pages can be turned/”flipped” with a touch of the finger on the lower right corner of the screen. A voice-over (VO) informs the viewers of each application throughout the commercial, using repetitively the phrase, “there’s an app for that.” The ad closes with the tagline, “There’s an app for just about everything. Only on the iPhone,” after which logos for the Apple iPhone 3G and AT&T were shown.

The BlackBerry Storm ad, meanwhile, features the BlackBerry Storm on a wooden table with a cup of coffee. Viewers hear a VO, and the owner of the voice is possibly the individual drinking the coffee on the table. From the tell-tale clue of the blue green carpet, one can assume that the setting is an office, albeit a homey one. This is confirmed when the VO expresses his curiosity over the BlackBerry phone on the table, indicating that the phone is not his, and it probably belongs to someone else in the office. He picks up the phone out of curiosity, since he has ‘already seen BlackBerries before,’ and he wants to know “what the fuss is all about.” As he picks up the phone, the screen goes blank, and viewers can hear the VO saying, “Wow.” The ad closes with logos from BlackBerry Storm (with the line “Coming soon”) and Verizon Wireless.

Lastly, the Nokia N96 ad features Bruce Lee using a chain weapon as his “paddle” in a . Known for his prowess in the martial arts, the video captures Bruce Lee playing singles a la martial arts style with, presumably, a Chinese player. The video is shot in black and white, and the 60-seconder ad is divided into two matches: the first part showing Lee playing singles, and the second part showing him playing doubles, still with his chain weapon. Lee defeats both players, and the ad closes with a shot of the Nokia N96 with a VO of Lee’s famous “hiyaaaah!” martial arts call sound. A rotated view of N96 is shown, showing the image and name of Lee engraved at the back of the phone, with text written in Chinese characters. The ad closes by showing the URL where viewers can get more information about N96:

From these ads, both Apple iPhone and BlackBerry Storm demonstrated a clear positioning of their product and in-depth knowledge of the lifestyle of their target markets. From the iPhone ad, Apple is targeting the young to middle-aged working class group, as shown in the applications featured in the ad: restaurant review blog suggests that the user is Internet savvy, as what most young are known for, and the MRI images and a profile of the middle-aged working class segment, who are increasingly becoming concerned with their health and seeks some quiet time alone (as indicated in the e-book reading). BlackBerry Storm has a narrower target group, possibly the working class individuals in their late 20s to mid-40s. The homey look of the office and dialogues from the VO further reinforced this profile of the product’s target group, since the VO is clearly not Internet-savvy and not highly knowledgeable about mobile phones, as suggested by the line, “what the fuss is all about.” This shows that while the individual knows the BlackBerry, he has not tried this kind of product yet (i.e., BlackBerry smart phone). The Nokia N96 lacks clear positioning, because it targets Chinese consumers in general, using the Bruce Lee as its “key” to increasing the product’s relevance to them. This is understandable, though, since Nokia is ‘testing the water’ on how to target a market that is complex and not yet well-defined, at least from the point-of-view of North American and European companies.

The iPhone ad demonstrated greater involvement with the viewers because of its direct approach to selling the product, enticing people to try it by showing them its features. BlackBerry, meanwhile has lesser involvement than the iPhone ad because the ad is situational and talks about the experience of an individual. But there is still relevance to the viewers in that they identify with the individual speaking in the ad. The Nokia ad has the least involvement, since it centered on Bruce Lee only (although it can be argued that since Lee epitomizes Chinese pop culture, he then represents Chinese consumers in general). Moreover, the Nokia ad does not directly link Lee with the product (N96). The main objective of the ad is to immediately establish a connection between the Chinese viewers/consumers and Lee, then connect Lee with Nokia, wherein eventually, Nokia will hopefully establish a relevance link between Chinese consumers and N96 through additional information contained in the URL it provided at the end of the ad.

Among the three (3) ads, Apple’s iPhone ad is the most effective, followed by BlackBerry Storm, and lastly, Nokia N96. Apple iPhone is most effective because it has a clear positioning and target market in mind, and it provoked a need in the viewers by concretely showing them the benefits of buying the new product. BlackBerry placed second because it did not provoke a greater need for a BlackBerry Storm; the ad mainly piqued the viewers’ curiosity but did not convert this curiosity to a need, to make the viewers want to buy and have a BlackBerry storm. Nokia N96 suffered from poor market positioning; therefore, it was not able to clearly communicate what benefits the new product can provide to the viewers/consumers. Bruce Lee as a Chinese and movie star icon may have established relevance and familiarity to viewers, but the lack of information about the benefits of the product — in fact, the lack of link between Lee and the product — failed to evoke a need to buy the new Nokia N96.


Apple iPhone ad:

BlackBerry Storm ad:

Nokia N96 feat. Bruce Lee ad: