Commentary

Verizon's Droid Ad Runs Into Counterattack

Everything i don't/Droid Does

Verizon Wireless' audacious new TV ad that aired over the weekend takes direct aim at the iPhone, and has already sparked a backlash in the tech blogosphere. Ticking off a list of features or functions not found on the iPhone ("iDon't have a real keyboard," "iDon't take night shots"), the 30-second spot breaks into the pop music-backed opening with a jagged, futuristic transmission announcing the Motorola Droid, the new Android 2.0-powered smartphone that Verizon will release next month. "Everything iDont, Droid Does" is the tag line.

By challenging the signature Apple device so openly, the consensus is that Verizon is only setting itself up for failure when the Droid fails to live up to the hype as yet another would-be iPhone killer. Remember the buildup for the BlackBerry Storm? "I feel the only reason the 'Droid' will do well is because of marketing. But once put into the hands of users, I feel a disappointment will emerge," wrote one commenter on the Phonescoop blog.

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Others took issue with the ad's list of "iDont's," pointing out that the lack of a physical keyboard has hardly hurt the iPhone's adoption and has, by now, become a tired complaint. The "iDon't run widgets" line raised questions about exactly what a widget is and the rejoinder that the App Store offers some 85,000 apps compared to the Android Market's 10,000.

Most surprising is that the ad (and teaser Web site set up by Verizon) doesn't hit the iPhone for what is perceived to be its biggest weakness: running on an unreliable wireless network. Sure, Verizon's "There's a map for that" campaign mocks AT&T -- the iPhone's exclusive carrier -- for its much-publicized problems powering the device. But passing up the opportunity to hit that sore point again when attacking the iPhone seems like an oversight.

One thing is for sure -- the new Droid campaign makes the prospect of a Verizon iPhone appear even more unlikely. "This 'iDon't' commercial signals the end of that speculation," noted Seth Weintraub at Computer World.

As for the Droid phone itself, Boy Genius Report on Monday offered a mostly positive preview, saying it's the fastest Android device, with the best screen, to date. But he didn't call it an iPhone killer.

 

5 comments about "Verizon's Droid Ad Runs Into Counterattack".
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  1. Larry Czerwonka from happinessu, October 19, 2009 at 2:08 p.m.

    funny apple can make attack ads that are filled with half truths and no one seems to care but let someone else do it and people come out of the wood work complaining ... and why does something need to be an iphone 'killer'? there are millions of potential customer that do not need 80,000 or even 10,000 apps since they will only use maybe 10 what they need is a phone that does not require a phd to use or one that the battery last longer than a few hours before needed to be recharged :(

  2. Matt Ellsworth from FLMSC Inc., October 19, 2009 at 2:20 p.m.

    after trying to figure out how to get an iphone that was frozen (screen frozen etc) unfrozen the other night while out with some friends - I'd never buy one for the simple fact that if it breaks/freezes up you have to spend time looking up how to do it on a blackberry. What a joke. Just allow someone to take out the battery like every other cell phone...

  3. Lisa Foote from MixMobi, October 19, 2009 at 2:24 p.m.

    Thanks to Larry Czerwonka for the points I was about to make.
    I love my iPhone (we have multiple devices in our development shop), but there *is* room for honest competition and varied offerings. iPhone does have significant weaknesses -- everything does! I found the Droid ad cheeky and fun. I hope increasing competition inspires Apple to do even greater things in future.

  4. Monica Bower from TERiX Computer Service, October 21, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.

    We're living in an age of wonderful brand resonance, that's for sure. People still act like the days of fanatical brand devotion are long past, when in fact the evidence suggests brands matter more than ever before, and king of the mountain is an ever-more-important game brands need to play with each other. Apple takes advantage of the fact that there's already a ton of similar handsets in this market by lumping all the others into one bin of inferiority, and they leverage their marked artistic design superiority and thermonuclear-powerful marketing to make a device that's not inherently THAT unique into the benchmark for cellphone cool. Apple's brand says "If Verizon made a laptop it would be a piece of crap" without even needing to run an ad. To me, that's pretty cool. and I don't think this campaign has a thing to do with whether Verizon will ever carry the iPhone; by the time they would, these ads will have run their course, and their ad promoting the iPhone could be a one-word campaign: "FINALLY."

  5. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, October 26, 2009 at 6:37 p.m.

    There will be an I Phone Killer. It is just a matter of when.

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