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Advertising & Marketing | AD REVIEWS / DENISE GELLENE

Motorola Message Gets Lost in the Static

AD REVIEWS: Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on tastefulness and probable effectiveness, with $$$$ being highest.

April 23, 1998

Advertiser: Motorola

Agency: McCann-Erickson, New York

Challenge: Develop a brand image for Motorola pagers, two-way radios and cellular phones.

The Ad: The first ad in this campaign begins by showing images of flight. There are birds, a paper airplane, a kite and a toy airplane. A legend says, "They say man can't fly. They say flight is for the birds. Motorola says you're cleared for takeoff." What follows are images of smiling people using pagers, two-way radios and cellular phones. "Motorola gives you wings," the legend says. "Wings set you free." The Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" plays during the ad.

Comment: No doubt Motorola has piles of research showing that people think wireless communication devices give them more freedom. They can place calls or send messages from almost anywhere. But they can also receive calls and messages in remote locations, an experience that is not always liberating. The ad confuses convenience with freedom. Viewers' ears will likely perk up when they hear the familiar Rolling Stones tune. But it isn't novel, as other advertisers such as Pepsi and Sprint have recently used Stones songs too. $$

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