HTC vs Acer. Marketing goes head to head

I realise this blog is starting to expose themes in my life – namely marcomms, technology and er, chocolate.  This post features two of those.

Adverts for technology tend to jump out at me. I’m a bit of a gadget lover – I read tech news so I tend to know about products before the advertising campaigns are launched. Nevertheless I’m intrigued by the sales pitches. Amongst these,  Taiwanese tech giants HTC and Acer are promoting their products heavily, but in very different ways.

HTC is pushing its range of smartphones at commuters, advertising in Metro, Shortlist and on train stations. A selection of these adverts below:

I really like these adverts, they’re bold, simple and focus massively on the benefits of the product. The ChaCha advert focuses on just one. It’s tie-in with Facebook. It’s no small wonder a phone company hooked up with the social media giant. Teenagers are mostly likely to update their profiles using a mobile device (away from mum and dad’s prying eyes) and this phone is priced accordingly. As at July 2010, there were over 70 million 13-17 year olds on Facebook, and this is aimed squarely at that market.  The line uses the language of social media ‘Like it. Push it’ (in other words, update your status with the touch of a button) condensed into four words. This is a good approach to outdoor advertising, passers by have no time to read dozens of words. In my work, seven is the number I work towards. Any others are lost.

The Sensation advert is slightly different. It is aimed much more at young professionals, and the ad lists several uses that appeal to that group, summarised in its headline: ‘because you want effortless control’. As it is a magazine advert, it has a more focussed audience so can list a range of features and benefits eg with it’s dual core processor [feature, and a bit jargony] apps start up instantly [boom, benefit].

The HTC marketing team have built a product range around targeted demographics with features to match. The adverts reflect this business strategy and target the audience with pinpoint accuracy.

Moving on to Acer’s advert promoting its Iconia Tab. It’s a nifty product. Capitalising on the success of the iPad and iPad2, as well as a surge in the sales of small laptops known as netbooks, the company has developed a device that has the benefits of both, a tablet that has a detachable keyboard. ‘PC or tablet?’ it asks, ‘Choose both’. So far so good – we’ve got the idea, in case we haven’t the picture makes it fairly obvious (although why not drive it home with motion lines showing where the keyboard fits attaches?)

Acer Iconia Tab, Metro 08/07/2011

My problem is the description. It’s a traditional PC spec – listing the screen size, memory and processor. Most of this is meaningless to many people. “2GB DDR3 RAM, 32GB SSDisc” it boasts. So what? If you want to know these figures, you’ll go online. Chances are you’ll be someone with internet access at your fingertips.  If you’re in the market to buy a PC for convenience (which is essentially what tablets and netbooks are all about) you’ll want to know why this one is good. Is it heavier or lighter than a netbook? Is it more or less powerful than an iPad? The figures in the advert don’t help sell the product to someone new to the market.

Even worse, there isn’t enough information for techies to answer these questions, one can make assumptions, but as any computer buff will tell you, a good spec does make a good PC. Technophiles will go online to find out more about a product like this, technophobes will flip the page and coo at how “the iPad can play movies”.

The contrast between these two companies’ adverts is stark. On the one hand you have HTC, hand picking a benefit with which to sell its products, on the other you have Acer with it’s shopping list of features.

Acer needs to think about who it’s selling to and refine the marketing accordingly. The Iconia will appeal to several audiences out there, but not all of them at the same time.


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