Smart­phone Launches: Con­fus­ing Copy­cats

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We all love to copy. And we also love to re­main and tread on the safe path, and not take risks. Noth­ing il­lus­trates this bet­ter than Bollywood or our TV se­ri­als. The moment one movie or one se­rial clicks, ev­ery­one starts em­u­lat­ing the same for­mula and re­peat the same story or plot­line with mere cos­metic changes in names or sce­nar­ios. The out­put be damned. Seems we se­ri­ously lack in cre­ativ­ity and are bereft of ideas or more se­ri­ously risk tak­ing mind­sets to cre­ate some­thing new and fresh. While there is value for time tested for­mula in cer­tain do­mains, in cre­ative spa­ces the lack of orig­i­nal ideas in­di­cate a se­ri­ous short­com­ing amongst most In­di­ans who would love to call them­selves ‘cre­ative’.

Looks like the sce­nario is the same with the mar­keters and PR agen­cies who plan smart­phone launches. In re­cent weeks, I have at­tended a num­ber of phone launches from ven­dors like Oppo, Vivo, Honor, Mo­torola, Asus and the likes. And it’s re­ally dif­fi­cult for me to dif­fer­en­ti­ate one from the other in terms of tex­ture and shape and size of the event.

The first and fore­most thing that re­ally sur­prises me (I would say I am re­ally flab­ber­gasted) is the over use of pop­u­lar TV tech an­chor Ra­jiv Makhni to en­dorse all these brands. There was one Oppo launch where Makhni was the star of the show and ex­tolled about the var­i­ous virtues of the Oppo hand­set be­ing launched. Though even these sounded go­ing highly over­board, I have no prob­lem with ven­dors us­ing Makhni as a brand am­bas­sador in­stead of spend­ing big bucks on some celebri­ties. In fact, he is able to ex­plain the fea­tures much bet­ter.

My prob­lem starts when Makhni is all gaga about the Oppo hand­set and praises it to the sky that it is the best phone avail­able in the mar­ket. And the very next day there is a Vivo smart­phone launch and whom do we see there? The very same Ra­jiv Makhni. And he is again ex­tolling the virtues of this Vivo phone in com­par­i­son to other brands avail­able in the mar­ket. Now I am con­fused. I be­lieve in Makhni; but he is now say­ing Oppo is the best one day and next day says Vivo is the best. And af­ter two days I at­tend a Honor launch and who else is again en­dors­ing this phone as the best. It is again our friendly neigh­bor­hood re­viewer Ra­jiv Makhni.

Makhni might be en­hanc­ing his brand value as a re­viewer, but isn’t he se­ri­ously los­ing his cred­i­bil­ity at the same time? And what about the brands them­selves? What brand eq­uity will they carry when their prod­ucts are en­dorsed by the same per­son, and that too in a short span of time. While en­dorse­ment by celebri­ties might be im­po­tent, even this form of ad­ver­tis­ing or PR, or what­ever else you may call, is ab­so­lutely ridicu­lous and con­fus­ing..

Not just Makhni, the en­tire con­tent of these launches have be­come the same drab mo­not­o­nous af­fair. That same spec­i­fi­ca­tions, that sim­i­lar Pho­to­shopped pic­tures ex­tolling the cam­eras and fi­nally the same drama used to re­veal the pric­ing. If our mar­keters can­not think of any­thing else to come out of this strait­jacket, it’s in­deed sad days ahead for smart­phone ven­dors.

There was one Oppo launch where Makhni was the star of the show and ex­tolled about the var­i­ous virtues of Oppo hand­set be­ing launched.

Ra­jneesh De, Group Editor ra­jneeshd@cy­ber­me­

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