Posts by Michael McKloskey - New York

Motorola turns the tables on Apple, positioning XOOM as the nonconformist’s choice

“People judge me by the type of technology I have”—a third of the U.S. and U.K. respondents to a survey we conducted late last year agreed with the statement. And in an age where technology signals status, Apple has the highest cool quotient among tech brands. In the tablet category, it has a stranglehold on the market, becoming almost synonymous with “tablet.” So if you’re competing against a dominant brand with high consumer satisfaction, where do you start?

In a Super Bowl spot for the XOOM Android powered tablet, Motorola makes the bet that some consumers are by now developing a concern about being just another of the masses and want to differentiate themselves. Interestingly, it’s Apple’s own strategy from the 1984 Macintosh launch during the Super Bowl, turned back on the brand.

Motorola offers consumers the reward of being an individual. (A somewhat ironic twist, since five years ago the masses were flocking to buy its RAZR phone.) It becomes a choice between hopping on the Apple train—joining a world of identical droids, all wearing the iconic white earbud headphones, who shuffle mindlessly through a monochrome urban universe—or breaking away. One young man retains his power to choose his own path and uses a XOOM to woo his love interest.

In the end, Motorola’s product will have to deliver. But in the battle to gain some attention and drag on the momentum of a juggernaut like the iPad, turning Apple’s massive success into a weakness appears to be the best chink in their armor to exploit.