Tag Archives: Mobile

Voice SMS – wrong audience?

The Airtel Voice SMS ad (below) is now being regularly aired on most Indian TV channels.

I found it surprising that Airtel seems to be targeting this service at the middle or the top layers of the socio-economic pyramid. Given the general perception that those in the ‘Base of the Pyramid‘ are more likely to need and use voice-based features on mobile phones, I’d have thought Airtel would go after the BoP audience (probably in addition to other segments). It’d be interesting to test this service with BoP users and see whether they’d take to it.

On another note…

Is this also an attempt at changing the typical Indian phone usage behaviour — the innate unwillingness to use voice mail on phones (I’ve heard various theories on this one, will save that for a different post)? It’s still early days, but I still don’t see any sign of a dramatic change in that behaviour!

Also, I realized there is a basic usability issue with the way one has to record the voice message. To send a voice message, one has to dial * and then the number.  Which means, I can’t use the “Contacts” on my phone to send a voice message!! And given how dependent we are now on our Contacts, this is so unusable!


Gadget revenge time

And finally, someone’s realized people aren’t really enjoying their relationship with their gadgets (isn’t that what it is, a “relationship”?). Wired is running a ‘contest’ on documenting the worst thing you’ve done to your cellphone/TV/laptop or any other gadget.

These are the moments when you wish that your cellphone — an otherwise helpful gadget — had nerves and self-awareness so that you could cause it pain. Now is your chance to get even.

We want to see you take revenge on all the old electronic equipment that has bumped you into a higher health-risk bracket from increased blood pressure.

Here’s the entry that I’m voting for:

I had this crappy phone from LG that never got a good signal at my apartment. One day I was trying to send a text and it kept saying “Sending failure. Try again?” After getting that error message for the 100th time I got very angry. I thought about throwing the phone down on my porch but I knew it would smash into smithereens. So instead I yelled “You piece of sh*t!!” and I bit the phone. Yes, I BIT it. The LCD screen never worked again.


Discussion about a whole new web (and BoP users)

There’s a bit of a discussion started on Niti’s blog about a “whole new web”. Check out the comments there, and pls read my earlier post about our research preview (if you haven’t previously), for additional context to some of my comments.

Back from the break

Well, it wasn’t quite a “break”, but nevertheless…we’re now back to blogging after a long gap. Lots to catch up on and lots to share. Will try and do that over the next few weeks (“try” being the operative word).

Anyways, here’s an ad for Reliance (one of India’s largest mobile service providers)’s promotion for their mobile blog service. This ad has been playing across literally every TV channel for the last several weeks, to the point of irritation (almost)!

But why I’m blogging about it is the huge publicity/promotion that blogging, as a concept/phenomena/culture, is getting thanks to these ads! It will be interesting to see how this ad impacts or increases the overall blogging trend in India over a period of time (assuming the ad does work, of course).

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.