Brand: ROKR (Cingular Service, Motorola phone with iTunes from Apple)
Link: Click Here and scroll down to the spot entitled “Shadow ROKR”
The reflection of a young man in a subway window dances wildly to music on his iPod. Then the shot pans back and we see that while the reflection is dancing, the young man is still and that he is carrying a phone with iPod white headphones connected to it, not an iPod. As he moves calmly through the city his reflection and then his shadow keep dancing. Until he gets a call and the phone becomes a phone for a moment. The spot ends with a voiceover saying “The world’s first phone with iTunes. 100 songs to go. Only from Cingular – raising the bar.”
It is hard to imagine a more difficult marketing challenge – how to advertise a phone made by Motorola, available from Cingular featuring iTunes songs from Apple. In fact, it sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Surprisingly, then, Cingular pulls off a feat by making a focused little spot that perfectly explains the product benefits while building at least two of the four brands involved. Here is what works:
- Strong Metaphor Gives us the Value Proposition – Why do we listen to an iPod on the subway or when walking down city streets – or country roads? Probably not because we’re dancing the way the characters normally do on iPod spots. But music makes us feel like dancing and allows us to live in a different world than we see around us, or enhance the world that exists by adding a soundtrack. The dancing reflection and dancing shadow, while not an entirely original idea, perfectly illustrates the real benefit of an iPod.
- Action Reveals the Product Benefit - While we are being given the familiar value proposition for an iPod, the phone rings. In the normal situation, this would be a moment of fumbling and dropping wires. By having the shadow immediately return to being a regular shadow as the young man answers the phone and dropping the audio, this spot perfectly illustrates the two primary benefits of the ROKR with iTunes. The phone knows when you’re getting a call and pauses the music so you can talk. And you don’t need to different devices to wander around town with your.
- Clever brand-building for Cingular - Cingular’s catchphrase is “Raising the Bar.” At first, this seemed like a well-directed rejoinder to Verizon’s ‘can you hear me now’ campaign which struck the Achilles heel of cellular competitors – poor coverage and call quality. After the acquisition of AT&T, Cingular began to move aggressively to take this claim away. ‘Raising the Bar’ referred to improving the number of bars on your cellphone – getting a better signal. It is impressive, then, that Cingular crafted this phrase to work equally well at delivering new benefits to the industry – thus raising the bar in a different way.
- Little Brand Confusion – With the names Motorola, Cingular, Apple, ROKR, iTunes and iPod all being potentially relevant with this spot, Cingular was smart to focus on it’s own name (you can only buy the ROKR from Cingular for now), the name of the new product (ROKR) and the brand behind the primary benefit (iTunes). This makes the spot easier to follow and remember in branding terms.
Motorola, still trying to hit the next homerun after the hyper-successful RAZR phone, gets short shrift for its brand name in this spot. Although this spot will do a good job of building the ROKR brand as well as reinforcing the positioning of the Cingular and iTunes brands, it leaves Motorola without much of the credit as the builders of the device. Ultimately Motorola will have to hope that the phone itself is well branded and creates some loyalty among customers. Still, what Motorola really needs is to continue to build its cachet among prospective customers in addition to the relative few that will end up with this particular phone and this spot does not help.
Branding Bottom Line:
Cingular and BBDO produce an entertaining and effective spot that uses the iPod equity to build demand for ROKR.