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Ad Review: Motorola

In the past, I used to share my favorite ads under #FavoriteAdFriday. You can still find the category listed here, on the blog. It was my way of applauding brands and their agencies for a job well done. Though I can recall writing about one ad in particular that I didn't think was so great, under #FavoriteAdFriday. Go figure. (You'll have to click on the Favorite Ad Friday category and sift through to find this one and all the other ads I reviewed, 'wink, wink').

All in all, it was fun to do this back then. Given that part of my job lies heavily on research and the other in consulting on brand and communications strategy, reviewing these brands and their agencies of record felt like an outlet to share my perspective.

All this to say that I plan on bringing that same energy back. But this time, instead of leaning towards sharing my "favorite" ads, I will review ads that are not so favorite. You won't see this every week as before, but you will see this from time to time.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the brand that inspired me to get back to writing about ads. That brand is: Motorola.

Full disclosure, I do not own a Motorola phone, nor do I plan on switching to one. Is it possible that I may in the future? Probably not. But hey, never say never right?

Before I show you the ad, I do want to applaud the brand and give credit where it's due. Here's why.

According to Phone Arena:

Motorola has been an unexpected winner in the first half of 2021. It shipments grew 42.8% in the second quarter to 10.6 million units and 79.2% in the first six months of the year to 23.2 million.

That's an achievement worth celebrating, especially considering the heavy hitters in the smartphone category that they compete for market share.

But shifting gears, lets refer to their newest ad released via their YouTube channel on July 29th.

The description of the video reads:

The world needs more changemakers. With our technology, the power to be one is right at your fingertips. You have the #PowerToEmpower yourself and others through creativity, innovation, and connection.

Now, let's see how they channeled that mindset:

Can anyone guess where their inspiration came from?

I'll give you one hint...

Yes, ladies and gentlemen: Apple. (Nike also, actually.)

Here's my initial thought, though: You want to be different. Yet, you don't do anything different? And instead, you do the exact opposite of looking like every "inspirational" ad out there?

I don't know about everyone else but I can't stand ads like this anymore. Let's be clear. This. Is. A. Phone. It is not meant to change lives nor does it have the power to. So can we PLEASE stop over-inspirationalizing* ads about mere objects? Objects that actually, in all research shows, have become a stumbling block to actual human connection? Some may argue it brings people together. Well, sure...people that are far away from you. Because you can call them up via voice or video now-a-days, anytime! But what about those you don't connect with because you're too busy connecting with those far away from you? Hmmm. (Oh and yeah, I made the word up; ever hear of over-spiritualizing? Same idea.)

This ad wants to be so inspirational that they failed to realize how cookie cutter their message is and how it's been done before, many, many times before. And how it just doesn't cut it anymore. Any brand can use that exact template, with that exact script (removing the two times she says Motorola). And the voice over; don't get me started on the voice-over. Can you sense the cadence of her voice and how she is, again, over-inspirationalizing the script?

Motorola's Vice President, CMO, and General Manager (Europe), Francois LaFlamme, told Adweek this:

"We want to be recognized as diverse and inclusive. We want to be seen as disruptive -- as agents of change."

My question is simply, how? How Mr. LaFlamme, does your team plan to be disruptive and empower your consumers to be agents of change? Clearly you are speaking to the younger generation with this ad considering the casting choice. So is the 'disruptive' idea here to become a change agent...because your phone provides that power?

Part of the script is this:

"An attitude that connects people and transforms lives. This is real power. The stuff that fuels starters, innovators and change makers. We are Motorola. And this is what inspires our people. Brings out technology to life. It's time to unleash your power. Just take the first step and we are here to support you. Motorola. Power to Empower." Cue the dramatic heart beat sounds.

Let's dissect it further...

The script says: "This is real power." Meaning that the "this" is the attitude. And the attitude to dance, pop a wheelie and jump from a diving board, is the power . And it's the power because the phone 'is the attitude' that provides the power. Did I get it?

That would definitely be a first for me. A lot of what we saw depicted on the ad, takes talent, sure. I won't deny that. But I draw the line on it being described as 'power'. Power is having the courage to be an authority and speak against injustice. Power is also influencing others to do the same. The 'this' in your ad is "talent" based. But power, isn't driven by talent. It's driven by heart.

But let's be clear. This is a phone. A. Phone. This ad did everything but what you intended with your buzz word filled statement, Mr. LaFlamme. And your company probably paid a fortune for it...

The fact that an ad like this got through SO. MANY. individuals and yet it still got green lit? Boggles my mind. It's why hiring an outside consultant is beneficial; a need, really.


* The act of ‘over’-inspirationalizing is the placing a greater inspirational significance on something than you should.

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