HTC, look past satire and focus on the One's features in your marketingEvan Selleck - Contributing Editor
We’re close enough to the launch of the HTC One that you wouldn’t be out of line to expect to start seeing some advertisements promoting the device. Whether that’s from carriers themselves (with the exception of Verizon), seeing the One on TV building up to its launch would make sense. As of the time of this writing, I haven’t seen any ads on TV for the HTC One, but if the company plans on sticking with their plan for their marketing in 2013, that should change soon.
Unfortunately, based on the HTC produced video put together by Funny or DIE for the One, we may not have much to look forward to. You can view it by clicking here.
Last year, HTC’s One X was one of the best smartphones released. It only got better with the One X+, allowing the internal hardware features to match that of the top-tier body design of the phone itself. HTC fell short when they didn’t market the device all that well. In truth, I only saw a couple ads for the One, and they were carrier ads, which showed the phone for about ten seconds before asking you to come on over to AT&T. The One X+? I didn’t see any ads for that phone at all.
So, HTC has said that they plan on changing that this year. They know that if they want to have a smartphone that sells, just releasing it isn’t good enough. Getting positive reviews on the Internet, which the One continuously does, isn’t good enough, either. As Samsung and Apple have demonstrated without fail, marketing your phone is an absolute essential piece of the puzzle. Of course, HTC knows this, so it’s good to see them gearing up to change their old idle ways.
Three days ago, the comedy site Funny or DIE released a “sketch parody” video advertisement called “The One.” It’s built around the premise of The Bachelorette, and sees one woman trying to pick one phone out of a small group. There are five choices in all, and one of them happens to be the HTC One. James Van Der Beek is in there, too, as the host.
As you can imagine, the woman selects the HTC One, and they live happily ever after. In the parody video itself, HTC seems to dance around the One’s features. Specifically, the “bachelorette” uses her One to “take a Zoe,” and then the camera pans to show her face, after it shows her opening the camera app. While I know what HTC Zoe is supposed to do, all this ad tells me is that HTC renamed their camera. Why would someone want that?
The bachelorette also comments on the HTC One’s build quality, which is nice, especially after a quip from the iPhone-look-alike that suggests, “Once you go plastic!” But that isn’t enough, either. It’s also the iPhone … thing … that has a situations where its single speaker doesn’t quite cut it. That’s in reference to the HTC One’s BoomSound, but you’d never know that from the advertisement. Oh, and finally? The bachelorette notes that the One’s battery is still going strong (after sitting on a stand, doing nothing?), and that she’s never met a “guy” with “that much power.”
This is HTC apparently poking fun at the competition, yet not providing any rational reason why their One is any better. Unless HTC just wants you to take their word for it, I’m not exactly sure what this advertisement was meant to do. And, truth be told, if this is the start of their marketing push here in the United States, I hope it takes a swift and decisive course change before the ads start hitting airwaves, because I don’t believe these will sell phones. And some might say that this isn't really an advertisement at all, but just a parody video. If HTC hadn't produced it, and the ad didn't try to talk about the phone's features? I'd be right there with you. But, this is definitely an ad for the One.
Sure, it could produce a few chuckles, but it doesn’t sell the phone. Nothing in this bachelorette parody makes me think that the One is “the one” for me, simply because there are no moments where any of the device’s features are shown off. And BlinkFeed? Nope, it’s not in there at all. The one feature that you can show off, without fail, and HTC decides to overlook it completely. How does that make any sense?
I agree with HTC in that they made a mistake last year not marketing their devices, but I hope they understand that just making commercials with their device in it won’t get the job done, either. Not yet, anyway. HTC has to get the same recognition in their ads that Samsung, or Apple has, before they can put all their hopes in sarcastic advertisement.
Hopefully, when HTC does finally kick off their media push on television, they put a bigger focus on the One's features, and sell the phone in the way they need to. But what do you think of HTC's first real video ad for the One, focused on consumers here in the U.S.? Did it get the job done? If you aren't already convinced to buy the One, did this ad push you over the edge to get one? Or do you think they need to focus on features, too? Let me know.