Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Apple and Toshiba commercials take different approaches to branding and connecting with consumers

This post is almost a ripoff of a similar post at Smartware -- I hope that Gina Trapani who publishes that site (I prefer that term to "blogger") doesn't mind too much.

On Smarterware, Trapani compares the latest ad from Apple promoting the company's new FaceTime video calling feature on iPhone 4 with an Droid ad and finds the Droid ad wanting.

I was shocked to see the post because last night I was sitting in the family room watching TV with my mother-in-law (really) when an ad came on for . . . well, let's hold off on that for a moment. My mother-in-law loved the commercial, I'll admit that it was incredibly cute. But I knew immediately there was a problem. So i asked her "what was the product being advertised?" Her answer was "dog food, right?"

Here is the ad:

The reason I didn't post something was that I needed another commercial to compare this one too -- Trapani's post provided it.

Yesterday Steve Jobs gave his keynote at WWDC and introduced the new iPhone. One of the new features of the phone is video calling -- what Apple is calling FaceTime. But since I did not attend the actual keynote I was forced to watch it via live blogging via ars technica (where Jacqui Cheng did a fantastic job.)

During the segment where Jobs demoed FaceTime he played a video -- of course all I got was "now we're watching the demo video..."

But now the video, which is actually a commercial is on YouTube and you can compare it to the one above:

My point: show the damn product! and show what it can do and how it can be used. The Toshiba commercial is damn cute, but I'm not a monkey (really) and I'm not fascinated with bananas (really), so I can't relate to anything other than the fact that I love dogs.

But then there is the Apple commercial. Just like Trapani, I have my doubts about video calling.

"Then I watched the FaceTime video from Apple, which features babies, people in love, grandparents seeing their grandkid in a cap and gown on graduation day, girlfriends showing off new boots, deaf people signing to one another, and the one killer scene that sold me," Trapani writes. "A soldier, presumably in Iraq or Afghanistan, sits on the edge of his bunk, holding out his iPhone, video-chatting with his pregnant wife/girlfriend at the hospital back home, who is getting an ultrasound. His eyes well up when he sees his kid for the first time."

Bingo. Trapani goes on to contrast that with an Droid ad -- my inspiration was the Toshiba laptop commercial. But Trapani beat me to it so she deserves all the credit: great post, and thanks.

But, in short, show the product, show what it does, and show people using it -- then you can get cute.