I’m a fan of the Android platform and the proud owner of a Nexus One handset. But for some reason, I’ve never quite warmed up to Verizon’s “Droid Does” marketing campaign. The commercials make me want to watch a science fiction movie rather than purchase a phone.
While reading an article today on 1UP.com titled: Twenty Years Ago In Advertisements, I noticed a familiar ad for the Sega Genesis.
When Sega brought the Genesis to North America in 1989, most gamers had an 8-bit NES. Sega couldn’t compete on the strength of its titles because Nintendo’s library was too massive. So they decided to emphasize Genesis’ powerful 16-bit processor. Guess what slogan they used?
Genesis Does What Nintendon’t.
No, I’m not kidding. You can watch this classic Genesis Does commercial on YouTube.
Well, we all know what happened in the end. Two years later, Nintendo released the SNES and dealt Sega a blow from which it never quite recovered. Today, the Nintendo Wii is the best selling console in the world. Meanwhile, Sega has merged with Sammy and publishes games. They haven’t released a new console since 1999.
Verizon’s marketing team appears to have retooled Sega’s campaign. The similarities are eerie. In both cases, a company with big marketing dollars (Sega/Verizon) with a new and fairly unknown platform (Genesis/Android) attempts to dethrone a market leader (NES/iPhone), that possesses a very strong library of games and apps. Both Sega and Verizon have chosen to emphasize their platform’s hardware superiority. Sega constantly reiterated in its commercials that Genesis had 16-bits, twice the number of bits as the NES. Similarly, Droid commercials emphasized the fast processor, open architecture, and multitasking ability over the iPhone’s offerings.
They say history tends to repeat itself. Considering what happened to Sega in the console wars, Verizon may wish to consider a different approach to marketing Droid.