An over-the-top iPhone 4 spoof, irritating gender-related ads, cyborg sci-fi, and Microsoft's disaster and eventual triumph were the bright and dark spots of 2010's cell phone ads.
Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two: Hipsterrific
There are two things Microsoft isn't known for: fun ads and a rapport with consumers who are younger than 50. In this Kin-themed romp through Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros' indie folk ditty "Home," Microsoft famously tries and fails at both.
A scene in which a male partygoer shares a photograph of his chest with a tickled young lady spurred accusations of "sexting" that eventually saw the spot pulled. Meanwhile, bopping revelers in animal suits and quick-cut shots of youngbloods with red plastic cups helped peg the Kin--more than a cell phone, less than a smartphone--as a device for hipsters.
Is it us, or does the transformation of a young business professional into a metallic cyborg in this Droid 2 commercial recall a certain cyberthreat against which a certain heroic Starfleet captain and his crew must triumph, or else become assimilated?
Dissolving skin and carbon-fiber bones? No thank you, Verizon.
What we can't help wondering is why Palm felt it necessary to target mothers in the first place, thus reducing the very good device and its lauded WebOS to a tool for women with kids, instead of showing it off as a smartphone for everyone.
BlackBerry-maker RIM absolutely needed an appealing ad that would both highlight the benefits of the new, OS 6-driven BlackBerry Torch 9800 and bathe the device in an aura of coolness.
So far, so good for the sliding smartphone's aurally arresting soundtrack, which simply and effectively highlights the Torch's main selling points. Too bad it all comes to a screeching halt at the messy mixed metaphor of a slogan.
How do you crow about producing the first 4G phone? There are surely more inspiring ways than the slow-paced, philosophical musings on the nature of technological "firsts" to the sounds of a gently plopping piano that advertise the Sprint Evo 4G. At least watching biplanes crash into jets and space shuttles in a domino effect is plenty of fun.
Google learned some hard lessons in its failed marketing and distribution of the HTC-built Nexus One. A screening of this forgettable ad might help explain why an excellent device failed to gain sufficient market traction. And as much as we love the turn-by-turn navigation, listening to the fembot's choppy, robotic vocals on television is not a plus.
We circle back to Microsoft, which finally teased out some marketing magic with the Windows Phone campaign after that aforementioned cringe-worthy Kin ad.
Like "Season of the Witch," which kicked off the clever, humorous series, the "Really?" ad depicts everyday people absorbed in their cell phones at the precise moments they should be focused on the important situations--and people--around them. We never thought we'd say it, but we even welcome the toilet humor. Bravo, Redmond.