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Posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Dave!I do not envy those whose job it is to come up with the ad campaigns for new mobile smart phones. No matter how cool a phone you have to work with, you're fighting a battle with a huge disadvantage... it's not an iPhone. Apple came out of nowhere to totally own the market, and everybody is desperately trying to catch up. The simple truth is that unless a phone is developed that gives the user an orgasm every time it rings, Apple isn't going anywhere (talk about the ultimate ringtone!). But still the contenders try.

The latest iPhone wannabe is the T-Mobile MyTouch. It offers a few new nifty features but there's nothing terribly compelling to put it in a class above the iPhone. So what do the marketers do? Push the personalization features... like the life-changing ability to customize the wallpaper behind the app icons and placing widgets (like a clock!) on the desktop. They also tout being able to skin your MyTouch with whatever you want, which is kind of pathetic considering you can skin just about anything you can think of at the SkinIt site, including the iPhone...

Dave's customized iPhone skins...

But even worse than touting unique "features" that aren't really unique is their ad campaign. They have famous and quasi-famous people tell stories about how they made their MyTouch "100% mine." What's so laughable is that it's just a retread of Apple's old "What's on my PowerBook" ads...

What's On Your PowerBook?

Except the Apple ads side-stepped the famous people coming across as pompous assholes by setting them on the same level as "ordinary people" (like the priest with Todd Rundgren above). This made the ads rather charming, because everybody could relate. MyTouch decided not to bother with "charming" and goes flat-out pretentious. My favorite print ad has "international explorer" Josh Bernstein say "I love that I can customize my MyTouch skin with my own photos. I'm thinking I'll start with one from Egypt... or maybe Papua, New Guinea. Tough call." Wow... that is a tough call. But when compared to the "ordinary" person having to make the really tough call as to whether they pay their medical bills or buy food... errrr... not so much.

But it gets better! The ads on the official MyTouch site goes BEYOND pretentious to downright scary...

MyTouch Celebrities Campaign

  • Whoopi Goldberg likes to use her MyTouch to stalk "cute men" and take their pictures so she can look at them periodically.
  • Dana Carvey likes use his MyTouch to take photos of children who look like his children when he's missing his children so he can look at children... and caress his phone before blowing it.
  • Darrell Hammond likes to use his MyTouch to prank-call people with the threat of extortion.
  • Jesse James likes to use his MyTouch to collect money from people who don't owe him any money because he thinks they might owe him money in the future (and is SUPER-COOL because he has custom pin-striping on his MyTouch!).
  • Avril Lavigne likes to use her MyTouch to send emails to herself.
  • Brad Paisley likes to use his MyTouch to sing songs to himself.

Don't ask me how anybody watches these celebrities talk about the crazy-ass shit they do with their MyTouch and says "Wow! I've got to get me one of those!" But apparently such relational logic didn't enter into the equation when T-Mobile was planning out their ads, so there you have it.

Not that it makes any difference.

No mobile phone could ever hope to compete with iPhone for one reason and one reason only... the free Ask Dave! app is currently only available for iPhone...

Ask Dave! App Ad

Maybe one day somebody will port the app over to other mobile phones but, until then, we'll just have to wait for the ringtone orgasm.

What I find amusing is that Verizon finally gave up on trying to market iPhone alternatives and has turned to attacking AT&T's shitty service and bad 3G coverage. It's all well and good, but until Verizon can sell an iPhone to run on their superior network, AT&T still ends up with the advantage because they've got what people want...

Verizon 3G Map
"Want better coverage? There's a map for that!"

And right now what I want is some sleep!

Categories: iPhone + iPadClick To It: Permalink


  1. Me, I refuse to buy anything with an “i” in it .. but that’s by-the-by. I do have to say that in 2004 AT&T’s coverage (back then 2G) was EPIC CRAP!! I once went for three days in Utah with no coverage whatsoever and was tempted to go up to someone in some Dennys somewhere and ask them what network they were on! These days I just pay for global roaming so will pay through the nose for whatever network is available, but back then I decided I’d never go with AT&T again!

    • Dave2 says:

      Well, your “i” hatred fixation is your loss. 🙂

      I travel quite a lot, and have never been anywhere that I haven’t been able to place calls on my iPhone. Sure there are times I’m downgraded from 3G to EDGE… sometimes I’m even roaming on other networks… but I have yet to run across a place where I’m completely dead.

      The problem for Apple is that in areas where AT&T doesn’t have coverage they cannot sell phones because AT&T won’t allow it. This makes sense, because a user’s “home area” would have AT&T constantly paying another network for coverage. Once Apple is no longer exclusive to AT&T, a big chunk of people will be able to get one who had never had the opportunity before.

  2. Robin says:

    …actually, AT&T doesn’t have what everyone wants, because the last time I read the Blackberry is still outselling the iPhone.

    Although I do agree that the T-Mobile MyTouch isn’t all that (I tested it out in the T-Mobile store the other day while changing my plan…)it is a viable alternative.

    To me, Apple screwed up by aligning itself with a cell phone company that does not have great coverage (my friends that have iPhones love the phone but are still dropping calls all over the place – what’s the point of having a phone when at the end of the day, you can’t use it??) and a shitty international presence. And to top it off, their rate plans suck….and they only suck because AT&T jacked the prices BECAUSE they have an exclusive contract with Apple. My plan runs circles around any of AT&T’s phone/text and data plans (and even Verizon’s plans). This was the sole deciding factor for me between getting an iPhone and keeping my Blackberry but just getting an updated one. When I tried to negotiate with AT&T to match my current plan, they wanted to charge me $50 more a month. Um yeah…no.

    To me, that doesn’t make the iPhone any more appealing. ::shrugs:: I still love Apple, though.

    • Dave2 says:

      iPhone is only on AT&T. Blackberry is on everybody. And yet, despite this rather massive disadvantage, iPhone sales are increasing faster than Blackberry (even though, as you note, overall Blackberry sales are larger). That’s because it’s the phone that everybody wants! 🙂 It makes sense that Blackberry sells so well now because A) corporate users are tied to it, and B) if you can’t get AT&T service or don’t want AT&T service, it’s a good alternative to iPhone. Once Apple’s exclusivity agreement with AT&T is over, and multiple networks are carrying iPhone, the sales will be insane. Unless Blackberry can pull a rabbit out of their hat in the meanwhile, it’s only a matter of time.

      And there’s no need to convince me that AT&T’s service sucks… I’ve blogged about it several times, and even refer to it as “shitty” in the above blog entry. But it doesn’t matter… I’ll stick with crappy AT&T so I can have an iPhone. The minute that it’s available somewhere else, I’m there (though who knows what AT&T will do to compete in the meanwhile).

      To be fair, data use by iPhone users is massive compared to any other phone. If Apple had teamed up with Verizon, they would probably be struggling to keep up with the load as well. It would have been far better for everybody if iPhone wasn’t exclusive on release so the usage would be balanced between carriers, but Apple wanted things that other networks (most notably, Verizon) wouldn’t agree to. Now that the iPhone is such a huge success, something tells me that will change.

  3. Kawika says:

    As a long-time fan of your illustrations, I’ve wanted to skin my iPhone with one…but I haven’t out of respect – and no doubt, copyright laws.

    I went to Gelaskins (I’ve been skinning my iPhone with excellent and beautiful art offered there) and now skinit. I was hoping to find your illustrations, but alas, no. Both offer the ability to create your own skins…which brings me back to the “What would Dave think?” conundrum. If I can’t do it because you don’t allow it, I won’t do it.

    I was kind of bummed when your link took me to the skinit Web site because I thought I would next be ordering David Simmer II skins for my iPhone. Waaah!

    Will you, or do you offer it for that purpose?

    • Dave2 says:

      I’ve tried… but Skinit doesn’t currently offer a way to set up a “shop” so that I can make my designs available. I’d order them for re-sale, but the minimum quantity is 1000 pieces.

      GelaSkins DOES have an artist program where I can submit designs for them to consider, but no way for me to just set up a shop with all the designs I want. Looking at their stable of artists, something tells me that my crappy cartoons are not exactly what they are looking for in an artist! Maybe…

      I’ll keep trying though. One day somebody is going to offer user shops… perhaps even CafePress or Zazzle… but until then I’m kind of stuck. 🙁

  4. holy crap, i love that blue iphone cover with bad monkey on it. too bad i am stuck with my bb because work pays the bills. want an iphone sofa king badly.

    how about last night i was just telling a friend about your awesome ask dave app. he was all about impressed with you.

    • Dave2 says:

      The “Ask Dave!” app is open source software. If I can ever find somebody who wants to convert it to other platforms for free, they will have my blessing!

      Maybe one day… 🙂

  5. Lisa says:

    I love that Bad Monkey skin! It’s too bad they don’t offer artist shops because Blogography skins would be pretty cool.

    I love my iPhone and wouldn’t switch to a crackberry for anything, but the dropped calls drive me insane. I would switch carriers in a heartbeat if I could, as long as it wasn’t Sprint. Sprint makes me stabby and no one needs that.

    • Dave2 says:

      I’ve blogged about my issues with AT&T before, so I won’t bore you with it… but their dropped calls problem is so horrendously prevalent that it’s a wonder they haven’t been sued. In many respects, I get decent coverage with AT&T wherever I go, and don’t have that many problems. But when I do, it’s usually at the worst possible time. Heaven help me if I’m ever in an emergency situation and can’t make a call. Scary.

  6. B.E. Earl says:

    I’ve mentioned before how I don’t really get the world’s fascination with Apple. I enjoy some of their products and I live with a woman who is a cult member so there is no hate involved. PCs just happen to “work” better for me, that’s all.

    But in a similar complaint about advertising…I’m starting to get really sick of the “Mac vs PC” commercials on TV. I dig both John Hodgman and Justin Long and the ads are often funny. But the message isn’t “look how great Macs are”. It’s “look how awful PCs are” even when a lot of what they say is exaggerated greatly or false altogether. At least in my experience.

    A company that often acts as if it is above it all should indeed be above it all when it comes to this kind of advertising. It’s just starting to get old and boring.

    • Dave2 says:

      I don’t mind competitive advertising… so long as it’s the truth. I think Verizon made an excellent point in their ads, though it was a bit misleading because it implies that AT&T has NO coverage over large areas of the country, when it’s just 3G that’s missing. Had they been stronger at presenting this, I think their ads would be absolutely perfect. Necessary even.

      When it comes to the Mac vs. PC ads, I actually think that Apple is lowballing how crappy PCs are. I have to work with Windows and can only DREAM of having the wonderful experience you apparently have. But it’s never been the case. Ever. XP worked okay most of the time, but was so backwards when it came to an intuitive interface. Vista was a total joke. It was the single worst computer experience I have ever had. It NEVER worked… not on any of the FOUR computers I had it running. That’s not a lie or an exaggeration, which is why I made my OWN “Mac vs. PC” DaveToons to reflect my experiences.

      Windows 7 is leagues above Vista, but still nothing compared to my experience with a Mac. In this respect, I think their advertising is on the right track (from a business standpoint), and their growing market share reflects this. I guess from my perspective it’s “tried, true, and effective” instead of “old and boring!” 🙂

  7. It will be interesting to see if Apple re-sign with AT&T once the exclusivity contract is over. If not I wonder if they’ll go exclusive with another provider or just open it up as a free for all.

    • Dave2 says:

      I cannot fathom that Apple would be stupid enough to limit themselves to a single carrier. I think now that they’re so huge, they’ll be whoring iPhone to ANY carrier willing to initiate their “visual voicemail” and data plan ideals. It’s the only way they can keep expanding.

  8. karla says:

    Um…can we go back to the part about the phone that makes you orgasm when it rings? Can that apply with text messages too? That would make me a very happy girl.

    We could call it the iOh.

  9. Chris says:

    As you know I refuse to have anything to do with the iTard products. Of course I’ve totally sold my soul to Google instead, so what’s the difference really? I LOVE my MyTouch and the only drawback I can see is that Ask Dave is not available!

    • Dave2 says:

      Let me be perfectly clear about one thing… I have NO problem with the MyTouch PHONE… I’ve never even seen one. All I am talking about here is the MyTouch ADVERTISING, which I find to be creepy and inexplicable!

      People should use whatever phone that works best for them. If MyTouch is the phone for you and makes you happy, then that’s the phone you should have!

      Or should I call it “MyTard?” 🙂

  10. Chaz says:

    I’ve avoided the iPhone due to the AT&T network. I just got a DROID, and despite the stupid marketing campaign, I love it. I have absolutely zero iPhone envy. Though it’s currently smaller, I love that the Android Marketplace is open… unlike the App Store (with it’s arbitrary submission guidelines) for the iPhone. I like being able to change my own battery and upgrade the internal storage in my phone. I like that I have a standard headphone Jack and don’t need a proprietary adapter to listen to music. Maybe I’m an exception to the rule when it comes to wanting an iPhone, but that’s fine because now “there’s a phone for that.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I like, own, and use Apple products, but for me, the iPhone is no longer the best fit.

    • Dave2 says:

      I like the Droid okay… it’s a very nice phone. But I’m just the reverse, I can’t imagine giving up my iPhone for anything! I love, love, love the product… I just wish it wasn’t on such a shitty network. 🙂

    • Ren says:

      Minor FYI, only the 1st gen iPhone needs a headphone adapter, and not for all headphone connectors. It was a silly design and they fixed it.

  11. Tina says:

    Boo! I love Dave and I love Bad Monkey. I would love to have a Skin. 🙁

  12. Mik says:

    We’re with Verizon and I look forward to if they ever have the iPhone available.

    I had to Google to find out the white haired guy in the MyTouch advert was Phil Jackson, I’m none the wiser not following sports.

  13. David says:

    I’d want to get an iPhone simply to have the “ask Dave” app, but since I’d rather pay my medical bills than the high (for me) monthly charge for iPhone service, I’ll stick with my Motorola.

  14. the Narcissist says:

    Yes, T-Mobile’s ad campaign for myTouch sucked ass… However, that doesn’t mean the device isn’t a good one – it’s just poorly advertised – a fail on the marketing manager’s part. iPhone isn’t the everyphone. It’s just A phone. A good phone, but not necessarily the best phone.

    Google phones are pretty freaking cool. Have you ever tried the HTC Hero – a converter if there ever was one. But being converted might require you to leave the epic fail that is AT&T.

    • Dave2 says:

      I never said anything about not liking the MyTouch phone… I haven’t even seen one… I was commenting only on the freaky-ass advertising.

      I’ve played with Google-based Droid, but that’s all. It’s a very nice phone, but nothing I’d trade in my iPhone for.

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