Tag: marketing

HTC continues to slide

Telephone BoxSmartphone vendor HTC expects to make a loss for transactions during the second quarter of this year.

HTC, which formerly held a strong share in smartphone sales worldwide, is blaming the forecast loss on poor sales in mainland China and a lack of demand for high end Android phones.

Many market analysts have predicted that the market for high end smartphones is practically saturated but former competitors like Samsung and Apple still continue to do well.

Sales of HTC phones in May fell by something like 20 percent compared to the previous month and as much as 49 percent compared to the same month in 2014.

HTC’s gross margins are also shrinking, aggravating the slide.

Many outsiders believe that HTC lacks the financial muscle of an Apple or a Samsung and can’t afford the high price that marketing smartphones appears to demand.

Google to invest heavily in Moto X marketing

Google is planning to spend a whopping $500 million marketing the new Moto X smartphone in the US and overseas.

The Moto X is supposed to be Google’s and Motorola’s tour de force, the first proper flagship Android phone developed jointly by the two outfits since Google took over Motorola Mobility.

Until now, Motorola Mobility and Google were separated by a virtual firewall, as close cooperation might have irked Google’s hardware partners, namely Samsung.

We are still not sure about the Moto X’s specs. It might end up as a mid-range device, while the ultra high-end will be catered to by future Nexus devices.

It will also be Motorola’s first phone with a Made in the USA sticker in years. It will be built by Texans in Fort Worth.

To put Google’s $500 million in perspective, Samsung’s combined marketing budget last year was estimated at $12 billion, but that figure includes a wide range of products, from TVs to Galaxy phones and tablets.

In 2012 Samsung spent $401 million advertising its phones in the US, while Apple spent $333 million peddling the iPhone. Google’s $500 million isn’t out of place, then, but looks like a lot more than the company ever spent on Nexus marketing. 

All major US carriers will offer the device, the WSJ reports.

Qualcomm viral falls over on YouTube

Mobile chip company Qualcomm misfired when it attempted to have a video go viral, at first glance appearing to demonstrate the long battery life users get with Snapdragon devices.

“What can you do with the Power of One Charge?” asked Qualcomm. According to the company, quite a lot. The video starts with a ballerina in Los Angeles putting a Snapdragon phone into a box which then goes on its travels around the world.

Moving over a distance of more than 36,000 miles, the phone visited New York, London, Paris, Shanghai, Moscow, Dubai, Mumbai, and Rio De Janeiro, filming a short video at each location. Qualcomm promises there were no post production effects in the neat video.

Qualcomm’s marketing department left the comments open on YouTube, many of which pointed out that although the video was shot on one video charge, it was shut down as it traveled across the world. The most popular comment – from CosmoAndCo – has been removed. Cosmo said to TechEye: “My comment was just quoting the disclaimer in at 2:03 that states that the device used for the recording had an extended battery and was turned off during travel. Which means that all the video is showing is that you can record just over two minutes of video on “just” one charge. Not so “wow” anymore.”

“So the charge only manages two minutes of video plus a few extra of outtakes before getting that low?” asked user mrsarkey. “That’s pretty shitty, I can shoot a couple of hours on my phone.”
TheDoorknob1 said: “Any phone can do this. Worst marketing ever.” while JustABigFan2010 said: “I wish I could get my boss to end me around the world like that. But he’s not as stupid as their boss.”

Another user, mutantemc, said: “2:04 minutes of battery? Still better battery life than the iPhone.”

Qualcomm told TechEye the battery life wasn’t the point. According to a spokesperson, “the intent with the video is not to compare Qualcomm to its competitors – rather it is to spotlight the amazing and unique user experience that Snapdragon processors enable.”

Woody Harrelson turned into meme after spectacular social media fail

White Men Can’t Jump star Woody Harrelson, 50, found himself the latest in a seemingly unending string of cynical marketers trying to artificially create a viral on social media, and failing spectacularly.

The ex-Cheers actor is appearing in a new movie called Rampart. Much of the internet will be familiar with the film’s title, but less so with its content, as either he or his agent took to Reddit to get its billion plus userbase to “ask him anything”.

Unfortunately for Harrelson, the thread was turned upside down when he or his agent refused to answer questions about literally anything except his new film, Rampart.

After Woody Harrelson’s no-show on much of the questions, rumours started to appeal. One of them said he took a girl’s virginity after prom and never called back.

Now, a quick search reveals threads like “Upjerk to raise Kim Jong Il form [sic] the dead. <Also starring in Rampart>”. Another is titled “IMPORTANCE LEVEL = RAMPART”, and “RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART RAMPART”.

It just highlights the growing consciousness against trying to go viral. A thread on Reddit can work, if the celebrity involved is willing to put the time in to actually ask questions. Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell recently created a thread that went down well, and even Rampart’s director Oren Moverman answered questions about a month ago

The highest rated comment on the original post, from a redditor called sailormooncake, reads: 

“Mr. Harrelson/Mr. Harrelson’s PR agents:

“You answered a total of 4 questions here today, and when I say “answered”, I mean that loosely. You have also embarassed Mr. Harrelson in the process. Please inform the rest of Hollywood that Reddit is not a publicity outlet and that Redditors don’t tolerate this kind of crap.”

Lesson learned? For Rampart’s marketing team, probably. For others? Probably not.

Marketers continue to misunderstand social platforms – the key word being ‘social’. Rather than an unthinking, nodding and drooling malleable receptical of consumers for advertising, the popularity of social websites is that they are made of people and communities.

Reddit is one of the best examples for web communities there is.

Rampart’s PR agency’s actions are the equivalent of politely knocking on the front door of a house, then brazenly walking around, stripping the walls, and pasting promotional posters over family photos.

Jim Dowling, managing partner at Cake, which looks after social media campaigns for the likes of Sony and the Carphone Warehouse, agrees that Woody’s team really missed the mark.

Speaking to TechEye, Dowling said: “The thing I love most about social media, is that it has reminded us all of one thing. We’re all humans.

“We’re not businesses, institutions, brands, celebrities. We all breathe, sleep, eat and have a life whoever or whatever it is we do. Social media is human-to-human communication with a computer keyboard in the way. All the hierarchy gets flattened.

“If you’re a human – ordinarily – you don’t like being sold to. You look for people you trust. If you want to gain the trust of anyone, you look them in the eye, tell them things straight, and do what you say you’re going to do. That’s all Woody needed to do, and then people may have listened to what he had to say about his film.”

Speaking with TechEye, SEO firm Greenlight’s social media director, Anna O’Brien, said there is a way to get it right: “Social media channels can be great tools for promotion- if you understand them. As a reddit geek myself, I would have the exact same reaction. This channel is notorious for poking fun at those that just don’t get it.

“The reddit community demands one thing of posters; if you’re going to participate, learn the rules first. It’s not difficult. Both Zach Braff and Danny Pudi both have had wildly successful AMA threads, but only because they came into the experience knowing they could and would be asked anything.”

O2 turns scrooge on Xmas promo mess-up

Now that the 12th day of Christmas has been and gone, British telco O2 has got the January Blues and gone all Scrooge.

O2 ran a promotional offer around Christmas time on some of its phones. “£20 to spend as you like,” it said, as a special treat for new customers signing up to its packages. The problem was the voucher customers got didn’t work in-store – they had to go online to apply for it. Customers could choose a Boots, Amazon, Next, Pizza Hut or Argos voucher.

Confused customers went online, wondering why the website they had to claim through was sending them round and around. One tells TechEye “it was a challenge”, who eventually managed to claim the voucher on the 14th December but still hasn’t had anything in the post.

But now, it seems there was a hiccup in O2’s systems. In an email, a representative for the Voucher Team said: “It appears on our system, that you may have received multiple sets of £20 vouchers from O2 for the Christmas Promotion. We are asking that customers please return these extra vouchers; but keep the vouchers you were entitled to.”

Doesn’t O2 know it’s a faux pas to ask for your presents back? Especially when customers haven’t been given them in the first place.

Judge tells Apple off for secrecy

Apple has been told by a US judge that its cult of secrecy will not dictate the workings of the US justice system.

Apple has two types of truth. One is marketed truth, which is plugged into its reality distortion field and can convert gadgets into the saviours of mankind. Anything else is a secret truth which is never discussed outside Apple offices and even then the blinds have to be shut and you have to talk in whispers.

According to Bloomberg, Apple logically thought that the US justice system would work the same way so its briefs told Judge William Alsup that a court hearing into the Hackintosh cloning case should keep certain documents about its MacOS secret.

It was a little shocked when Alsup refused to accept Apple’s version of reality. He actually asked why.

Apple claimed that the documents it wanted kept secret were trade secrets and it would give its rivals an advantage if they were made public. But Alsup pointed out that the information was already public and could be downloaded from the internet. He also noted that Apple was not claiming that the information had been misappropriated.

He wondered why a court should routinely censor public documents because Apple pulled the trade secret card.

Apple’s argument was that since it was not the source of the information being on the internet, the documents were a trade secret and therefore should be protected by the court from a disclosure that had already happened.

For the record, this means that if you ever have a scoop on Apple which has not received the blessing from the press office, your story could be a considered a trade secret and you could be arrested for corporate spying.

Alsup was not buying it. He said that Apple was not allowed to have his court seal information merely to avoid confirmation that the publicly available sources got it right.

He said that information about the operating system is available on the website of a book about the software, the judge said. Apple’s decryption key haiku is available to any user who compiles and runs publicly available code on a MacBook Air laptop, he said.

Psystar was barred in 2009 by Alsup from selling copies of Apple’s operating system or products that circumvent technologies that control access to the software. His order covered a Psystar software product that allowed customers to run the Mac operating systems on non-Apple computers. The companies reached a $2.67 million partial settlement of the lawsuit in 2009.

A later federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld Alsup’s sales injunction in September and ordered some documents in the case unsealed and this is where Apple tried to get the decision reviewed. 

AMD leaves its partners in the dark

AMD launched the Radeon HD 7970 card for desktops – but all was not well at the Little Chip That Could’s external marketing wing in the UK, according to a round of Chinese whispers, with its marketing in the UK.

The 7970 was supposed to launch at CES. Just why AMD pushed forward the release date we may never know, but the mutterings we’ve heard from the dark satanic rumour mill suggest that it didn’t fancy competing with high-profile announcements from the likes of Nvidia. For some key partners, yesterday’s launch will be the first they heard of it.

The NDA for AMD Partners to talk about their products is still in early January. When a journalist spoke to a partner about review samples it was the first the company had heard of it. What followed was a mix-up, allegedly, on Text100’s part – the partner approached Text for information which was then up in arms, blood boiling, because a journalist had compromised an NDA. There was a string of furious phone calls and email exchanges.

“In which universe does an AMD partner not know the NDA date?” said an industry watcher. “They’re not bringing a knife to a gunfight, they’re bringing ****ing bananas.”

*EyeSee An eBuyer slip-up revealed the price for the Powercolor model. Somehow this got back to Text 100, who allegedly began telling people the street price based on that model. Sapphire is the number one partner…

Adobe boosts marketing suite with Efficient buy

Adobe has bought a company called Efficient Frontier which specialises in adverts in the channel. 

Essentially, by splashing out on Efficient Frontier Adobe can improve its own Digital Marketing Suite and abilities for flogging ads to companies and in turn companies flogging ads to wherever else.

In an uncharacteristically thrilling statement, Adobe SVP for digital marketing said its customers will want to know exactly how they can spend dosh to get the best return. Efficient Frontier will give Adobe’s Digital Marketing Suite a bit more shine to adverts online. 

Efficient Frontier’s software will give Adobe a way to push more ads in Facebook. Facebook is essential to Efficient Frontier’s algorithms – basically, predicting results and targeted adverts.

Those capabilities will sit with Adobe SearchCenter [sic] which already runs with Facebook ad buying. Likewise, Adobe will integrate Efficient Frontier’s software into its own Adobe SocialAnalytics, which aims to maximise return based on what people are chattering about on the web.

Adobe’s SearchCenter [sic] + has paid search management included, so Efficient Frontier, the company says, will complement that nicely by introducing search portfolio optimisation. 

Adobe hasn’t disclosed how much it has spent on Efficient Frontier, but considering the song and dance it’s making we’d estimate it wasn’t a modest sum.

As usual with these things, the board has to agree and governments must approve. Adobe reckons the deal will close in Q1 of Adobe’s 2012 fiscal year. 

ZTE loves its celebrity endorsements

Chinese mobile steamroller ZTE has boasted of a full year spent winning celebrity endorsements. 

Since becoming the fourth largest handset vendor in the world, it realised it needed the marketing to go with it. That’s why over the last year it has become friends with Singapore pop star Huang Yida, tennis player Carles Moya Llompart, a Spanish supermodel by the name of Jon Kortajarena, a top TV show in China called Man’s Gang, grime-pop Brit Professor Green and Spanish artist David Bisbal.

In a statement, it brags of its busy year: it managed to convince Singapore’s singer songwriter Huang Yida to pen a yarn with the same name as its smart terminal slogan, “Light Your Smart World”.

Then it showed off its Light Pro tablet at the Mutua Madrid Open. Llompart was hanging about for that as the tablet showed off tennis statistics in real time.

Spanish model Jon Kortajarena appeared at the Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week to demonstrate some ZTE products. In Hong Kong, ZTE’s Skate launch had Kandy Wong on board. Also in Madrid, Spain’s David Bisbal was sponsored by ZTE. The company claims it’s part of the marketing strategy.

Professor Green in the UK said: “Sponsorship is a reality of today’s music industry – the key is to make sure you partner with the right people. ZTE are up-and-coming and innovative so this relationship is really exciting for me.”

Most recently, in China, ZTE managed to get its devices into the hands of TV series Man’s Gang’s cast. ZTE says the product placement strengthened its brand “among the youthful, fashion conscious, target audience demographic.”

What’s next for ZTE? We can’t wait to see.

Will the residents of Albert Square wake up to find the Royal Vic refurbished and rebranded as the BS8920 Micro Base Station Arms?

A cameo from Hou Weigui as new landlord at the Rover’s Return?

Emmerdale relocating to Guandong Province?

We’ll have to wait and see, but ZTE promises to rope in even more celebrities to flog its wares: “Next year looks set to be even bigger and brighter,” said He Shiyou from the mobile business. 

Facebook enters spirit of FA Cup with overhyped marketing ploy

Facebook will for the first time broadcast an FA Cup game on its site, having struck an historic deal with the English Football Association.

The partnership, helped along by sponsor Budweiser, will see Facebook getting involved in the overpaid buffoonery that is English football.

It is the first time that the social network has broadcast such a match, and its 750 million users will be offered a glimpse at the glamour that English football’s most famous cup competition.

So will fans be treated to the fancy, fleeting footwork of Man City’s David Silva? The swashbuckling forward runs made famous by Ashley Cole?  Or Wayne Rooney’s massive potato head? 

Well, not really. Facebook instead went for the ‘glamour’ tie that is Ascot United versus Wembley in the ‘extra preliminary first round’ which sounds like a pre-event invented solely for market purposes.

For the uninitiated Ascot United and Wembley are not well known in the canon of great footballing sides so this sounds like it could be more marketing hype than a footballing event.

Ascot is of course largely famous for galloping toffs and stupid hats. And while Wembley may ply their trade in the same vicinity as the famous Wembley Stadium, it is likely that the only role this squad will play in the actual final is flogging hotdogs outside the stands.

Speaking to Reuters about the event, Ascot chairman Mike Harrison said that despite having “88 people for a league match last night” Facebook’s involvement could mean that “millions more might well be watching”.

That is what Budweiser will be hoping anyway, having ploughed £24 million into a three year sponsorship with the FA for the world’s oldest football cup.

The FA meanwhile has no intentions of allowing Facebook to start broadcasting higher level matches yet.  They would have to stump some serious cash to rub shoulders with the likes of Sky Sports and ESPN.

But it could be an option for more games at the bottom rungs of the footballing ladder.

“There are no plans to do so yet, but it could happen up until the first round stage when the broadcasting contract between the FA, ITV and ESPN comes into operation.” Or so it goes.