In 2013, HTC launched one of the best devices of the year with their One flagship. In a sea of plastic devices, and many more without much of a design to write home about, the One stood out -- especially when the different colors started popping up throughout the year in exclusive deals. HTC found out a truth that they had to have known: releasing the phone is only a small part of the overarching battle.
Despite the fact that HTC followed up the One's launch with different colors, along with a Mini and Max version of the handset, you wouldn't be in the wrong if you thought the device dropped off the map soon after its launch. In a way, it did. By the time Verizon got their own version of the device, much of the talk regarding the handset had quieted, and the questions people were asking generally revolved around, "Is it worth buying now, so many months later?"
I always answered yes, because the One was one of my favorite devices last year. The truth is, though, that HTC didn't do a good job of marketing their best handset to date. There were ads out there, but most of them weren't very good, and many of them were focused more on HTC's brand, rather than any phone. The only advertisements that stick out to me, were the ones that had people scrolling through content on their devices, leaving physical debris on the ground as it dropped away from their phone. This was apparently meant to show that you shouldn't scroll through Twitter or Facebook individually, but rather scroll through them both (and other services) in HTC's BlinkFeed.
Making fun of scrolling while still promoting scrolling is weird.
Thankfully, HTC said that they were going to put a bigger focus on marketing in 2014. And with a device like the One M8, the follow-up to the original One, they certainly deserve to give the device plenty of the limelight, so consumers can see how great it is, and why they should pick it up.
Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for those ads. I've seen an ad with Gary Oldman telling me it doesn't matter what he says, because I'm just going to buy the One M8 anyway. And I've seen an ad with Robert Downey, Jr. talking at me with an accent, kind of showing off the One M8 at the same time, but not really. So, I'm still waiting for the ads that show off the One M8, its strengths, and why on Earth I'd want to buy one.
The real story here, while building off HTC's missteps in the marketing area, is that Samsung gets it. They've "got it" for a couple of years now, but I honestly believe they're one of the few companies that just finally understands what their commercials should be saying when they're trying to sell a specific product. And let's face it, a lot of commercials out there are crazy, and don't actually say anything at all, but that's why Samsung's ads have been so good recently.
Not all commercials are good, obviously, and I'm only speaking for the ads that I've seen here locally. I have no idea what Samsung is doing in the marketing department when it comes to other countries. But, if the ad that I saw this morning for the Galaxy S5 is any indicator, Samsung's trend for stable ads that get their message across is going strong.
Samsung even manages to showcase the Gear Fit in there, in such a way that would make me ask, "What's that, and where can I get one?" if I didn't already know the answer to those things.
The reason these ads have worked, is because they showcase the device front-and-center, and give you reasons based on the features it provides why you should buy it. Putting actors in real-world-like situations, like using your phone over a sink, or watching water get spilled on it at a dinner table, and showing why the phone keeps ticking is great. Or even how the heart monitor works. These are features Samsung wants to sell in the total package with the Galaxy S5, and Samsung understands they have to show them off. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best way to do that.
So, Samsung gets it, and I can't help but sit here and hope that HTC figures it out, too. With HTC's recent hire, maybe we'll see a big shift in focus, and we'll get some marketing that really makes an impact. Fingers crossed!