Moto’s India success

O&M‘s talking about how their advertising for Motorola’s flip-phone in India has resulted in the product featuring in the Top 10 “hot-selling phones” in the country for the first time (the other 9 are monopolized by Nokia).

The challenge for O&M and Motorola was that India is largely a ‘Nokia’ country. People thought you were stupid if you bought any other phone. O&M decided to flip that around and make it seem that if you were brave, you would look beyond Nokia, which, in the words of O&M executives, was a “mushy world”.

O&M targeted youngsters, who have the maximum urge to prove themselves and show themselves to be brave. They also form the group that likes to experiment. O&M pitched the Motorola versus Nokia war as ‘desire’ versus ‘morality’. In essence, O&M wanted to be the “corrupter of young minds” by being “bad company”.

MotoFlip looked deceptively high-priced with its styling, while it was actually quite affordable. So, the phone was pitched as a phone that you could flaunt. When people see a person with an object beyond his means, their tongues wag. This formed the basis of the communication, and the agency rolled out an ad which had a guy having tea with his parents. The latter question him suspiciously about his whereabouts and whether he has been doing anything illegal, all because the mother finds a MotoFlip in the boy’s room. The tagline goes, ‘MotoFlip. Dikhe itna mehnga, kuchch to log kahenge (Looks so expensive, tongues will wag).’

While this article talks about the success of the phone (especially it’s advertising & marketing), I wonder how much of this positioning was conceived right when the phone was conceptualised. While the ad is clever and gets the positioning across in a subtle-yet-humourous way, it would be way too presumptuous to think that the advertising alone did it for the product. I wish the article shared some background on the other key aspects (possibly, the conceptualisation & product design) of the success story as well.

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3 responses to “Moto’s India success

  1. Of course, any ad agency will want to claim all the credit and they love to go on and on about their “communication”. I always wonder if wethepeople really think like the ad agencies think we think 🙂

    For example, in the ad, the aunty got fooled, but wethepeople are left with the clear idea that it’s actually a cheap phone that anyone can afford. Maybe it’s just me, but I want nothing to do with such a phone hereafter.

    Suppose the ad only presented the virtues of the phone, including its design, and left it at that. The follow-up communication about the price should happen in print media. Let the viewer then be pleasantly surprised about it’s affordability, and this will lead to a positive reaction methinks.

    Aye sorry, it’s 2 am and I needed to opine.

  2. I agree with the general scepticism. As an ex-advertising insider, I am aware just how much funda is generated after the fact. But do remember, the real (creative) challenge lies in explaining failures rather than successes – and this is something we all have to excel at, not only ad people!

  3. Fly on the wall

    Going off-topic, isn’t the word “funda” awesome? 😉

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