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24 August 2012

Hey Telecom, what's the snow like in Queenstown?

 

Megabucks are being spent by the telcos in their battle for the smartphone market, but Telecom is spending zilch on product imagery. Why spend up large on the medium and scrimp on the message?


Telecom sells most of the major smartphone brands, but they've clearly hitched their wagon to the Apple star. The iPhone 4 and Telecom are everywhere: in print, on-line and on billboards.

Most Telecom iPhone ads depict what an upscale American user might have on their opening window. The weather in Cupertino. (Don't bother checking ... it's where Apple is based in California.) The DowJones average. A message from Lia Longo.

Why not a snow report from Whakapapa or Queenstown? Why not the NZX 50? And if a message from a non-WASP is important, why not Tana Umaga?

Vodafone's marketing is more about their brand and their range of services, rather than any particular smartphone. Two Degrees is focussed on selling low-price cellphone services and Telstraclear on selling bundled telco services. None of these Telecom competitors have made a single smartphone brand central to their marketing, though when they talk smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy is their fave.

With each telco offering a big range of mobile and smart phones, most of which are never seen in an advert, using catalogue graphics supplied by the manufacturer is common sense. But when the phone is central to your marketing campaign, surely it's key to use imagery that connects with your target market.

Getting a photographer to provide a graphic that's relevant to the local target market would cost little more than the retail price of a single iPhone. Vodafone does it with the Galaxy, why not Telecom with the Apple?

I guess it could be argued that Apple is such a powerful brand that the use of Silicon Valley imagery will indeed connect with the target market. But the core Apple market, the devotees who actually queue to be among the first to buy the newest variant, are now using their third or fourth iPhone. The market now is for the slower adopters -- consumers who aren't Apple nutters, who take time to read the reviews saying the Samsung Galaxy S3 is a technically better device.

In short, the use of American imagery on the Telecom ads for iPhones, at this stage in the product's lifecyle, is hard to understand. Is Telecom being cheapskate? Spending megabucks on the medium and nothing on the message? Or is Apple so smugly confident in its US imagery that it won't allow resellers to use anything else in their marketing?

It would be nice to know.

- Trevor Walton


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