back to article Motorola's banana-mutilation ad disses iPhone

Motorola's latest ad for its Droid smartphone could reveal the company's choice of target market: men insecure about their virility. In fast-cutting music-video style, the "Pretty" ad shows the Jaws of Life tearing through sheet metal, a missile thrusting towards its target, and a bandanna-masked faux gang-banger pelting a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Look the droid is just better than the iPhone dude, get over it.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    matcho bullshit

    kids talking about how big their dodger is, is actually a way of life in the United State of the former colonists .

  3. erikj

    No Risk At All

    Alienating the (albeit check-writing) princess-identity lot is practically a risk-free approach. There are not many ways to differentiate mobile phones other than whether it's an iPhone or not. Despite the risk (personally) in perpetuating the generalizations behind the ad, the Droid isn't going to pull market share away from the princesses anyway. So the ad is trying to provide cultural cover to entice, well, whomever. It's all unnecessary if the device simply does its job (which it seems to) and the carriers don't become doofuses, as they have here in the U.S.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    One of the first things they teach you about advertising

    If you can only sell your product by knocking on the competition, that means you have an inferior product. Clearly, Motorola is aware of this. While a lot of people seem to be impressed with this, the real question should be: what are they going to do when in a few months time the competition is going to come out with phones that'll have identical specs, not to mention an identical OS?

    Only Samsung is aware of the risk of having one OS to rule them all (whether this be from Redmond or Mountain View) and are developing their own OS.

    Why are these companies so desperate to delegate that aspect of their product -the only part that can actually generate a profit in the years to come- to another company. Have they not learnt from the PC builders? Are they content pushing grey boxes for the rest of their existence (in Moto's case, one or two years)?

    1. frankg778

      Did you really take a marketing class?

      First of all of the phone makers have had proprietary OS at one point or another. It is a very good thing that most of the phone vendors deciding not to "roll their own" operating systems anymore. The Iphone's success vividly illustrates how users were desperate for a smart phone with well designed user interfaces and a functioning third party software developer market.

      Secondly did you ever take a marketing class? It's called market segmentation. The Droid and IPhone are both well designed phones, but the feature mixes appeal to different market segments. Apple had first mover advantage and chose to replicate their desktop strategy that relies on creating the impression of extreme ease of use. Google has crafted a reactive strategy that is analogous to Microsoft Windows (the HW vendors battle it out and we control the SW) and attempts to grab the market share that Apple left on the table.

      The tech savvy individuals who consider themselves power users and are not put off by complexity and see technical difficulties as technical challenges to be overcome. This population resents being kept in a "walled garden" and will serve as the pioneers who blaze the trail. In broad terms this Ubergeek population skews male and the ease of use population skews female. Clearly there will be individuals in both groups who do not fit this model, but successful marketing is about understanding the large scale market dynamics.

      In short the droid is positioned to cleave off a hunk of the Iphone's male demographic. The Iphone will continue to be more attractive to people who put a premium on ease of use. Once the droid is established as a successful smart phone there is no reason that Motorola can not put out a new ad campaign that stresses ease of use, or reduced cost, or more carrier choices.

      This is just a short term strategy that accomplishes a short term goal. They need to unseat Apple's Iphone's hegemony so that average smart phone customers will consider a droid.

      The one valid point you touched on was that Mot is one of a pack producing Android phones. Under the Android banner strategy there are two winning strategies. Either be the lowest cost lowest common denominator android (Nokia or Samsung if they go droid) or be the technological leader. If you notice Mot's Droid in Android 2.0 whereas the others are at Android 1.5 or 1.6. This signals that Mot is following the second strategy which is better for Mot since they cannot do the economies of scale thing as well as others.

      Given the options that were available to Mot this strategy is better than most. I hope they stick with it and be the preferred Android manufacturer.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Bit of a problem in your first para there.

        After all the classic, nailed on example of a phone manufacturer who "roll their own" operating system is Apple with the, er, iPhone.

        I stopped reading after that self-contradictory howler.

    2. windywoo
      Jobs Horns

      @Buck Futter

      "If you can only sell your product by knocking on the competition, that means you have an inerior product"

      Ever seen the Mac adverts?

  5. Blain Hamon

    If you're going to mention the photo, do it right

    They're not knocking the CNet shot, they're referring to this specific shot, which even has the people placed in the same position:

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Not so offensive

    I think that this ad is a sign that Moto is cutting their losses on the Mac-fanboys of the phone world. They're trying to paint themselves as the utilitarian competitor to the pretty-boy iPhone. The imagery does end up looking masculine, to that end, but I feel that is more the result of how society views utilitarian things. Pretty things are, traditionally, girly. However, I know many women who care more about a device which performs well than a device which looks good, and I don't feel like they would be put off too much by this advertisement. The same goes for homosexuals. Just because one is homosexual doesn't mean one dresses 'metrosexually'.

    The banana and the saw do make me cringe, though.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Shame but hah! Won't do it.

    Assume three types of people:

    1 - the commissioning people

    2 - the creative people

    3 - the potential buyer people

    Well, the vid is definitely going to satisfy classes 1 and 2.

    That is what they want its identity to be. Warrior, Smasher. It smashes in all places - even the studio and by doing so makes the pretty Princess even prettier?

    From non-existence to existence it be and it are and it is. But what it is, be and are are not pretty. No sirreee.

    This is one Alien of a device. It has teeth, attitude and byte, bite, buyt and boy (as in boy market) it is going to use 'em and abuse 'em.

    It is a failed punk rock phone? It wants to shout loud, distorted guitar because it can do no other? It's only poetic feature is it's scream.

    As for 3. Well there ain't no appeal to pretty in pink for sure?

  8. Jeremy Chappell
    Paris Hilton

    Do you think?

    Do you think someone just figured out how unspeakably ugly the Droid actually is?! That is one ugly phone - the gold accents just seal the deal. Say what you like about the iPhone, it doesn't do ugly (and I don't even have an iPhone).

    I don't understand how Motorola thought adding gold accents would help, and seriously if you call your phone "Droid" give it a metallic case, and lose the logos (or at least MOST of them).

  9. h 6


    Just watches that droid ad on my iPhone. (caps P courtesy of Apple auto correct)

    it's like those bud lite ads that are funny, memerable for a week, but don't do anything to move the product.

    The one with the iPhone 4G in the pocket, thanks.

  10. Petrea Mitchell

    Race-horse-duct-taped-to-a-scud-missile fast?

    I suppose, on second thought, that if you burn the fuel fast enough it'll still be fast, but that horse is going to be hell on the stability control.

    Mine's the boring one with the copy of Principia Mathematica in the pocket.

  11. Paw Bokenfohr

    just, no

    It's a Motorola, therefore it's sh!te, no matter how much we all want the iPhone to be given a run for its money.

    That may sound a bit harsh, but I've owned a few Motorolas in the past, always say "never again" and a few years later (yes, I've owned mobile phones for over 20 years) say "well, this one looks nice, I'm sure that they will have sorted out x y and z by now" but it always turns out they haven't.

    For reference, x is usually reception, y is usually the UI, and z is usually the reliability.

    Let the flaming commence!

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Actually Pretty Good

    Freudian influences aside, it's a pretty good advert even if it tells you absolutely nothing about the features of the phone, except that it's not for princesses and potentially isn't pretty....

    Anyway, better than the currently bloody annoying self righteous iPhone adverts, who just take more time to ram how there's a bloo*y app for that.

  13. Wrenchy

    LOL!!! The Princess Phone...

    I guess we can't call the Jesus Phone anymore!

  14. Brian 6

    @Paw Bokenfohr

    Your 12 but u have owned mobile phones for over 20 years ?? How does that work ???

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Paw Bokenfohr

      Actually PB has a point, all the Moto phones I've had in the past have been pretty poor too. Although in my experience it was usually build quality and battery life that were the main offenders.

      Pray tell, what was it about his well written post that made you assume he was 12?


      (It's "you're" and "you" by the way)

      1. Brian 6


        It was his sweeping statements about all motos products most of which he has never owned or used that made it obvious he was 12.

        If your experience with Motorola products has been so bad then why did u keep buying them ? U 12 as well ??? (by the way)

        1. Daniel B.

          Moto did have nice phones

          I also wonder, someone saying that Moto's phones have always been shite must have been using cellphones from times no earlier than 2000. Maybe even sooner.

          My 1998 StarTAC was by far the best analog cellphone ever... ok, second only to my Ericcson, the model which I always forget its number or whatever, the one that appeared on Eraser (used by the Governator when he dials the "run away" signal.) The later 120t was also one of the best digital-era cellphones, and those would even span the early 2000s decade.

  15. stefan 5

    iphone is much better.

    The iPhone is much better than this piece of cr@p.

    The people slating the iPhones are normally the people who either A have never even tried one so have zero idea clue or B cant afford one both of which makes them start ranting about how bad it is and how people who do own them are fan-boys e.t.c. whaaa whaa i haven't got an iPhone so everybody who does sucks whaa whaa..

    crybaby fail

    1. Jess

      @ stefan 5

      The thing that is wrong with the iPhone is the artificial limitations put in by Apple. Approved apps only, one app running at a time.

      No matter how good the actual device (and it does look pretty good, it should be it is a pocket sized mac) this is a show stopper for me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Whoop whoop fanboi alert...

      And you base your assumption that this phone is a piece of crap on what? I'm pretty sure you've never used or owned one so that'd make you a fanboi of the worst kind, prejudiced and blinkered.

      Off you trot, I can hear Steve calling you for some more of your fawning obeisance...

      Or is there an app for that now?

      iPhone, Paris, stylish, vacuous, expensive but ultimately, not actually that good overall.

    3. Daniel B.

      @stefan 5

      Erm, I have the dosh to buy an iPhone. However, I don't like to spend my money on shite, which is the reason I'm buying a BlackBerry Bold instead. And yes, I've used an iPhone... I like touchscreens for screen stuff, but I'd rather have an actual keyboard for typing.

      Anyway, the ad hits the right target... the iPhone is a "girly phone" for people who can't be arsed with tech stuff. The Droid is targeted to those who do care about their tech, and all those geeky guys who want to install whatever they want on their phones (ok, those guys might go for an N900 instead). It is punching the very thing that has driven Apple so far: "classy princess vs. regular guy". Though they change "regular" for "macho". Nice thing they did there!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: Daniel B.

        If the "iPhone is a girly phone for people who can't be arsed with tech stuff" then how come I work in an office full of software engineers, 98% of which are male, and there are iPhones everywhere?

    4. Eak

      @ stefan 5

      Longtime Apple user here and (probably borderline Apple FanBoi--as much as I don't want to admit it, honesty compels me to....) I am NOT a fan of the iPhone--my work gave me a 3GS and after two months of heavy use... You can have my _BlackBerry_ when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

      MAYBE I'll give the iPhone another go (as our IT dept. seems hell-bent on pushing them on us unsuspecting users) once it has multitasking, once it can sync SMS logs/photos/call logs/ to my PC via Bluetooth, once it can access the files stored on my corporate network while I'm in the field, and once it can get more than half the battery life of most BlackBerries.

      Moral of the story: Don't automatically assume that everyone who dislikes the iPhone has never tried or can't afford one. (Oh, and learn how to write. Your lack of punctuation skills will not get you girls. Not even Paris.)

      stefan 5 fail

  16. Anonymous Coward

    >"30 seconds of "made you look." Watch the full ad, and decide for yourself:"

    A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. So I didn't watch the ad (thanks, flashblock!).

    Also, you just lost The Game.

  17. Dave 142


    so if something's quick then it has to be ugly and vice versa? Compare a Lada and a Ferrari and that doesn't seem to make sense to me.

  18. J.Wild

    I agree

    with Paw Bokenfohr..

    I bought a Motorola once, the UI was unfathomable.

    Then they insulted me with their "Hello moto" campaign.

    I will never buy a Motorola again! Or drink Bud for that matter - it's shite!

    I also did not bother to watch the vid, I gave away my TV so that I don't have to watch incessant crap like this.

    God, I'm grumpy :)

  19. Seanie Ryan

    interesting strategy

    in that advert i saw more of the "alleged" iPhone than i did of the phone they were supposed to be advertising. and if i hadnt been reading this article, i would have finished the advert not knowing what phone was being advertised by what manufacturer.

    at least i know what (i)phone to buy my niece now... she likes being a princess :)

  20. Markbloke

    Can't help being reminded of the Wasp T12.

    It's well weapon. Hoot your trap off.

  21. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    "Race-horse-duct-taped-to-a-scud-missile fast"

    That phrase explains so much about Motorola's design philosophy.

    And I use the words "design" and "philosophy" quite wrongly.

  22. Spanners Silver badge

    I have compared them.

    I have a (work) Blackberry), My daughter bought herself an iPhone and my son has a G1. The only person in the house with a decent battery life is my wife who has a Samsung StupidPhone (TM).

    The iPhone seems to have 2 main selling points - 1 it is an iPhone and 2 it is not something else...

    If I ever have to buy myself a smartphone, I will not even bother considering iPhones. I have seen that it looks very shiny but seems no better at anything than the alternatives. Like in that advert, I am interested in what it can do, how I can use it and cost. This narrows it down to Android and BlackBerry.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey ---

    Motorola is desparate. Droid offers nothing new functionally or aesthetically. So naturally all they can do is mount a hard-sell advertising campaign.

    1. windywoo

      Motorola offers nothing new functionally?

      Multi-tasking. The ability to install apps from other means than the app store. A physical keyboard instead of onscreen. Of course other phones have these features but not the princess phone.

  24. Tom 35

    Lots of ads like that.

    "Enticing half of one's market with strong imagery is one thing, but insulting an equally broad swath of the check-writing public is dicey at best."

    All they need to do is put the same guts in a pink case with more rounded corners, give it a cute name and create an ad that insults the other half of the market. Something like men are so dumb they will buy a phone that looks like a brick wrapped in duck tape...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Motorola need to work on their own brand's value, not just a single product.

    I'm not sure what's "un-masculine" about the iPhone.

    As a developer, right now I'm working on a DSi product and several PSP products...porting our iPhone titles to these "true handheld" platforms I can tell you right now the iPhone is all man when it comes to grunt.

    As a consumer, I'm less and less convinced by Android. Talk of paying for apps through my carrier? Not on your nellie! No approval system? I'd rather have one, thanks. Multi-tasking? Not if it comes at the expense of stability and - crucially - security.

    If Droid is should be appealing to anyone, it's the jailbreakers. And as a developer I won't complain. They don't want to buy apps anyway, so they may as well go somewhere where they won't feel compelled to pirate them - so in that spirit, I hope Android's marketplace does begin to flourish in the future.

  26. pctechxp

    Good marketing, shame about the product

    Google is a wannabe MS but is far more dangerous than MS.

  27. Charles Manning

    re:One of the first things they teach you about advertising

    This is nothing to do with products. Apple doesn't sell products as much as they sell "cool".

    The un-prety ad is not pitching product against product. They're pitching at people who are sick of having to be cool.

    This is the "Revenge of the nerds" phone.

  28. Phil 32


    So it's Mojo rola then?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Closet iPhone Lover

    I agree wtih Charles Manning. I am also fed up with the iPhone or in fact all Apple products "cool" marketting being rammed down my throat.

    Frigging loath it.

    Ironically, I've got an iPhone and I really do like it but I'm almost embarrised having to get it out in public for fear of being associated with Apple fanboys.

    I personnally like the Android advert. Think its funny and actually reasonably clever. Its just as in your face as Apple marketting but focuses on performance over looks.

    Having said all that, I havnt seen one and its going to have been frigging good before I consider switching my iPhone for something else.

    *Closet iPhone Lover*

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Droid for the dudes, pink one coming soon

    So they'll offend the women with the Droid, and then come out in with a pink one and some flowery name to it and all of the women will line up to buy it.

    It never fails to amaze me what women will buy if it is pink. Do women feel that the marketers are really getting into their psyche when they paint something pink? When this pink crap all first started I thought it was clueless marketers, but then people actually bought it!!!

    Oh yeah, and sell it at Target because that is where they all shop.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Motorola are poster children for "how not to design an interface" to me. I had a courtesy Moto while a corporate N00kia Symbian device was being repaired, and it was like trying to shop using the Rosetta stone as a list, in the dark.

    So they can make their silly todger compensation phones as fast as they like, I will probably stick with N00kia, or maybe even an iPhone, as they're actually usable.

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