I’ve been thinking about the current crop of ads for mobile phone
networks. I realise that, having watched quite a few, all I am am left
with is a collection of images with no message.
Take Vodafone. A freaked-out surf hippy blabbers on about something
while psychedelic speech marks appear every now and then. Eh? It’s nice
cinematography but the pictures do not relate to the words. The images
are powerful and cute but I haven’t learnt anything and I certainly
don’t have a reason to buy.
The Orange ads are the same. People with blue lips floating around in a
mid-Atlantic swimming pool. While the voiceover carries some kind of
message, I’m damned if I can remember it.
It was while I was walking down my high street that I thought I’d go
into Dixons to test my reactions. Staring at the entire range of mobile
phones, I realised I had no real reason to purchase any particular one
(except the Ericsson - but I’ll explain that later). My decision would
have to be based on a rational discussion of the facts with an
under-trained sales assistant.
Apparently these are ’branding’ campaigns but they are not good examples
of brand image advertising. They are examples of an insecure art
director’s private dream. I hate to think of the money that is going to
waste. What kind of client accepts this rubbish?
The problem is lack of education. I’d bet good money that no-one
involved with such projects has read a decent book on advertising.
If people really want to learn about brand image advertising they should
start by studying the work of Leo Burnett - he started the whole
And if the mobile phone boys want a good example of mobile phone
branding, they should check out the Ericsson-James Bond link-up. If it’s
good enough for Bond, it’s good enough for me.
But then that idea came from a direct marketing agency.