Friday, 20 July 2007


A couple of nights ago I met up with the Creativistan gang at The Commercial Tavern. It was good to catch up with London's young creative talent and get an idea for people who I may one day be working with. If you are looking for a creative break in advertising you should really make an effort to meet Wal who organises these things because he's got a bright future ahead of him and is a social hub for young creative talent. One small criticism aimed squarely at the British creative wannabes of adland is that none of you were present on this night and frankly were conspicuous by your absence. I met Germans, Scandinavians, French, Baltic States, Italians, Russians and more, all speaking spot-on English but no Brits; which tells me something about our ability to broaden the creative gene pool. I've said it before that homogenous advertising agency cultures produce homogeneous work. I think there were three planners there, that I knew of which confirms something about 3rd Millenium Planners too. We're a much more social bunch than the old guard because there really is no better social research than socialising.

And on that subject of research, I met a young man outside The Commercial Tavern who worked as global research for insights with Nokia. I've been rattling on a bit lately how Nokia have their shit together because of their ability to embrace social sciences into the corporation and putting people over profits as the objective which of course is a more profitable long term strategy as I wrote about over here and which you can watch a related online video over here.

Anyway we got talking about Motorola who are clearly having a hard time of things over in Chicago. Knocked off their number two spot by Samsung for market share and having just posted their second quarterly loss I guess the iPhone is starting to look like a corporation killer. I hear the CEO is on his way out too, no doubt with one of those Platinum Parachutes that the American corporation magnificently rewards failure at the highest level.

I started to recall when the Motorola Razr arrived because it was a huge hit in Asia - absolutely massive and unprecedented. The first one I saw belonged to my German boss while we were running around The Philippines, Indonesia, Malayasia and Thailand. I was fascinated how he had developed an automatic reflex to keep the screen clean of smudges, flicking the screen open, wiping, check and closing; a case of techno design-lust I guess.

Nobody could deny that for style it was a killer phone and for a time it was THE must-have accessory. But what struck me later when I got talking to Jens about the product, provided me with a valuable insight. He told me that the camera was rubbish, the interface so difficult to use that he didn't bother to learn all the functions, and that the only reason for purchasing it was style. Style of course is great but style over substance is a long term problem. Pretty much like putting money before people I guess. So 100 million phones later the Razr has been gang raped into submission by the relentless demand for volume sales and profits by Motorola and is now less of a supermodel and more of a crack whore thrown into a mobile tariff plan for free. I believe even the chavs are reluctant to be seen with them these days. Ironic really if the Razr phone is responsible for Motorola slashing their corporate wrists.

Update: I first saw the RAZR in Penang, Malaysia where Motorola have a plant manufacturing wireless radio products. It was just after the Tsunami which clipped the island I was on so that was around January 2005.
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