We all have seen them, despised them sometimes, and loved them at others. Yes, we are talking about the various advertisements of mobile phones that you see around yourself. These ads are all around you, be it on television in the form of commercials, or placed on the hoardings at the airport, or even on the internet, perhaps right on this page causing you minor irritation. An advertisement done well though, can go a long way in ensuring you convert the interest and go ahead and purchase the device.
In fact, I remember back in the day, the crazy train advertisement of the Motorola Razr was what prompted me to pick up the phone, cause I just wanted to see if the phone actually is sharp enough to get stuck in the wall. Yes, silly, I know.
However, the funny thing with advertisements is that you only tend to take notice of them when they are there and in your face. Mobile brands today usually select one device per season and pump their marketing budgets into ensuring that just about every caterpillar in the jungle gets to know about the phone. This makes the phone highly popular and one device that pretty much becomes synonymous with the brand that is advertising it. The important catch here is that this phone is the most marketable phone in the lineup and not always the best smartphone in the lineup. For the less informed people, they are lured into thinking that the aforementioned product that is being advertised is the best one available and they end up buying it. It could be the presence of their favorite movie star, sports player or just generally a cool ad that helped convert the purchase, but the fat fact of the story is that probably you would not have picked this phone if it was not an ad that would have swayed you.
The usual thing to assume would be, why would a brand ever advertise any device that is not their best? Well, the reasons for that is many and some that we could think are:
- Higher margins of profits on devices that are mid budget rather than the absolute top tier products where you are already battling for keeping the prices lowest.
- Higher inventory of products available, so easier to satisfy a higher demand.
- Easier to lure the audience for a product at lower cost than higher cost, especially in price sensitive markets like India.
- Demand for certain kinds of products that are niche to the market, like Dual SIM or phablet form factor in India.
And these are not all, there are several more business reasons that go into planning which device would eat the maximum portion of marketing budgets and usually it’s the innocent users who get trapped into this web which leads to these marketing budgets becoming either work of a genius or not. We have seen several brands do this. Apple did it with the iPhone 5c, where it marketed the product a lot, a lot of money was spent on it especially in a market like India, even when compared to the likes of iPhone 5s which was by far the more superior product. Hell, it reached a point where a lot of people thought that purchasing an iPhone 5c 8GB was the best purchase they would ever make.
Google is doing it currently too, where you see several posters and inventory, even a TV ad of the Nexus 5X while none of the Nexus 6P which is again, a superior product. Microsoft too advertises its mid range Lumia devices in India more as compared to the higher end phone, simply because it knows that higher end phones will not sell in volumes. The strategy of not always advertising the top dog may work for a large section of the audience that these brands are looking to cater too, as an average phone sold on e-com portal in Indian market is about $297 (Rs 19,600), but not for everyone. Offline, these prices can be different as this report cited.
And this is exactly where we would like to raise a flag and ask you to be careful and be mindful when you see an ad and make your purchase decision based on that. The advertisement would tell you that you could well own an iPhone for Rs 13,000, but it would not tell you that the iPhone 4s that you are picking will barely get any updates, is sluggish as a turtle and a four year old device that you would be better off without than with. Recently when Google announced the Nexus phones, we instantly knew after few initial impressions filtering in that the Nexus 6P is the superior, albeit more expensive, of the two phones launched.
However, take a walk around the Hyderabad airport today and you will be convinced that there is nothing that could beat the Nexus 5X, when in reality the same brand (not really, in this case) has a product that is far superior. Google is possibly advertising the 5X more because not only is it cheaper device but also because LG possibly has a bigger capacity, capability and track record when it comes to ramping the production and satisfying the demands that would come when such massive marketing budget supported campaigns go live, unlike Huawei. Unless you keep paces with the ever changing world of tech, you could well be forgiven to thinking that the Nexus 6P is not all that awesome, simply because you did not see it on TV or on the hoarding nearby.
With the iPhone 6, it was no secret that Apple was hoping that it would outsell the iPhone 6 Plus and you saw several iPhone 6 banners as well as the famous ‘Shot on the iPhone’ campaign and that worked. It worked too as the iPhone 6 managed to outsell the bigger iPhone by a ratio of about 3:1. Yes, it had things to do with the iPhone 6 Plus being more expensive, but so many people I spoke to immediately regretted picking the smaller iPhone instead of going for one with the bigger battery and better camera, simply because they did not know about it as Apple did not advertise it as much.
The bottom line, that we wanted to make is that, while it is great to get mesmerized or irritated by the ads that you see around you, put your thinking cap on and wonder if you really are the target audience for the marketer who sat and made the plan for the device. Do your research and see around if there is any product in the market in the same price range that you are targeting that could give you more features and fit better in your kitty.
Have you ever made a purchase decision that has been solely driven by the ad you saw? Do let us know in the section below.