Motorola aims to be antidote to ‘boring smartphone marketing’

Motorola is aiming to use the launch of three new smartphones to bring some fun to a smartphone market that global brand director Barry Smyth is full of “overly serious” campaigns from rivals such as Apple and Samsung.

Motorola is releasing two new iterations of its premium Moto X smartphone series as it aims to undercut the latest Samsung Galaxy and iPhone devices with similar spec handsets at lower prices.

The first, the X Play, will launch in August with a price of £299. The smartphone boasts a 5.5 inch screen, a two-day battery life – which Motorola claims is the “most durable smartphone batter ever created” and 50% quicker on charges than Samsung and Apple’s latest iterations – and a 21-mega pixel camera.

The second, the X Style (£359), will launch in September and boasts a bigger 5.7 inch screen and improved camera options. Although its specifications are strikingly similar to the X Play, it boasts more personalisation options through the Moto Maker – Motorola’s bespoke design service which allows users to customise options such as the colour of their phone. The X Style will allow users to upgrade their casing to more premium materials such as leather or smooth wood.

The final phone, the third generation of the budget Moto G smartphone, starts at £159 for 8GB of storage and features waterproofing in up to 1 metre of water – a feature typically found only on high-end devices.

Smyth admits that Motorola is looking to “go back to basics” with each phone’s design by focusing on getting primary features such as battery life, camera quality and price at “the best possible level” rather than focusing on newer tech such as wireless charging.

Bringing fun to smartphone marketing

However he believes the Lenovo-owned brand can also stand apart from competitors due to its unique approach to marketing.

He told Marketing Week: “We have a distinct point of view that nobody else has as our overriding objective is to be the most fun brand in the smartphone space.”

Although the three new smartphones will not be supported with any television campaigns, instead promoted through online and digital, Smyth doesn’t think the lack of above the line spend will be a hindrance.

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“Our consumers are there [on social media] so it is our key channel but I  also think the quality of the devices themselves are the best form of marketing. Look, Moto users aren’t doing profound things, they are taking selfies and having fun; our competitors are too serious and it’s becoming boring to the consumer,” he added.

He also referenced Apple’s recent campaign featuring photography shot on the iPhone 6. “They are treating everything as really precious. The photography ads feature grand art vistas when all people really want to see are pics of their local pub.

“A lot of the marketing you’re seeing in this space is unapproachable and causing a lot of apathy, people are becoming numb to the messages. I think we can be the antidote to that. Motorola is in the ideal position to take advantage.”

Brand opportunities in personalisation

Since being purchased by Chinese mobile giant Lenovo, which primarily operates with budget phones in Asia and Brazil, Smyth says Motorola has developed a “much bigger level of scale” while for Lenovo the acquisition has given it access to a “different, premium customer”.

Following the launch of the three new smartphones, Smyth said Motorola could now look to unveil more brand opportunities through the MotoMaker.

When Marketing Week gave a scenario of a brand such as Coca-Cola providing unique design templates for users to get printed onto their Motorola phone casings, he responded: “There are big opportunities to link with brands with Moto Maker, perhaps sponsored designs.

“It isn’t a stretch to see partnerships with different brands and that combination of equity creating a great proposition for consumers. I think offering a high level of personalisation and making sure the smartphone feels fun is key to our proposition.”


Motorola Razr ad

Google sells Motorola to Lenovo

Lara O'Reilly

Google has sold Motorola Mobility, the company it acquired less than two years ago for $12.5bn, to Chinese computer firm Lenovo for $2.9bn – a decision that highlights the search giant’s original purchase was driven by Motorola’s vast patent portfolio.


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  1. Talha 29 Jul 2015

    But its a rubbish phone! I wish HTC was better at marketing – they have some amazing products which are way undervalued by consumers due to lack of media push and awareness.

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