So, the iPhone 5’s been launched. It’s looking like a really great phone, although I’m still not sold on iOS 6 (seems dated to Jellybean). However that’s for another blog post.
An interesting side-effect to this announcement has been that other manufacturers have launched images/ads/infrographics (whatever you want to call it) that compares themselves to the iPhone 5, and then reasoning why their phone is better. The two culprits:
Now, in both cases, you can see that it is trying to “beat” the iPhone. Both ads are implicitly stating that the iPhone is the one to beat. It’s the top-dog of phones. “What the consumer doesn’t know however, is that the iPhone 5 is not the top-dog, because look, we each have phones that are better! In various ways!”
So, in the process of trying to prove it, they are adding clout to the iPhone. Did Samsung do ads vs the lumia? Or did the Lumia do ads against the S3? (If there is, I’d like to see them. Might have missed it.)
From my perspective, it feels like you will always be the underdog if you aim to compare yourself to your competitors. In a way, the product isn’t speaking enough for itself, that your consumers need convincing. In other words, it reeks of confidence (in the product) issues.
Now. I’m not saying these type of comparison ads are bad. A certain type of advertising is to educate consumers. But then you have to ask yourself, what are you trying to achieve, and what features are you using to differentiate your product from your competitors? Is simply touting jargon differences an effective strategy? For your broader market, I’d venture and say no. Your more enthusiastic and hardware/tech minded folks would’ve known the difference anyway. They don’t need educating.
There are other implicit uses in the two ads that do help, but it is not about education. I would say the Lumia ad is doing better in this regard. Before I say it, let’s look at a famous example of “comparison” ads. The Apple mac vs. pc ads (“I’m a mac”).
Here are some of them:
While the ads served to compared Mac to PC, it does differentiate them based on features, but the more important feeling and idea coming from these ads, was that it positioned Mac better in relation to PC. PC was a boring, suited, chump and Mac was a fun, young guy, the more desirable version. If I bought Mac, I was the fun guy, and I could silence my cognitive dissonance by touting the features mentioned in the ad. While it wasn’t so much about the difference in features, it was about positioning of the Mac brand.
In the Samsung ad, simply having a longer list, and having the iPhone black (vs visible display on S3), gives implicit signals about it being better. However, it does nothing in terms of positioning it. If I’m buying an S3 (according to Samsung and the ad), I’m simply buying a better phone.
While, the Lumia ad also used feature differentiation to show it was better, it subtly used the vibrant colours that it has become known for. It signals different positioning much clearer. If I buy a Lumia, I’m more individualistic, vibrant vs the boring black and white of an iPhone. The world is more colourful and more varied, and you need a phone to fit that. Here is an example of a Lumia ad that sort of fits:
A fantastic opportunity for the Lumia would be to for example use the Holi Festival of Colour for putting their point across. Lumia’s are for people who enjoy doing fun stuff like that, being multicultural, and the Lumia is that phone. Only the Lumia will fit your personality.
So. I’m just saying. Phone manufacturers, please stand on your own feet, before boringly (and predictably) comparing yourself to the iPhone.
I have to add the recent new Samsung ad.
This is much better. And on par with the (“I’m a Mac”) ads. While subtly stating different features, it is more about positioning the S3 as being a better fit. If I buy the S3, I made the right choice, because look at how sheepish and silly the iPhone users are.