Features versus functions: how not to hype a new smart phone

I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials recently about the new Motorola Droid Razr phone. My dad asked me after seeing a recent ad: “what does that phone do?”. I didn’t have an answer. All the commercial showed was the phone flying through the air slicing everything in its path.

Why would I want to go buy that phone? After seeing the ad, I know nothing about what it does or why it is special. And I’m not in the market for a phone that can cut a fire hydrant in two either.

Case in point, the new Razr commercial:

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/ugLIkx1u5iY 560 315]

And another longer ad showing features:

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/XGyp6dS6zqk 560 315]

It seems that most smart phone manufacturers use features to sell their phones rather than actually showing users what they can do with their phones.

Now, contrast that Razr ad with a typical Apple ad, this one for FaceTime:

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/nyHzaCv_egQ 560 315]

To me, the apple ads speaks more to me and captures me emotionally instead of shoving features down my throat (Dual-Core 1.2 GHz Processor + 1GB RAM, made with Kevlar Fibre, etc…).

Most people still don’t know a megapixel from a megabyte but they can immediately see the value of FaceTime, a dead simple UI and actions they do in every day life to help them make a decision on what phone to buy.

The apple commercials never talk about megapixels, megahertz, or RAM. They just show you what you can do with the iPhone. It reminds me so much of the PC versus Mac ads. The PC ads were always fighting over who had the most RAM or hard drive space, when most people really want a pc to get online and print without hassle.

Is the iPhone superior to the Razr? If you look only at specs, maybe (no Kevlar!) But If was going to buy a new phone, I wouldn’t know why I should buy the Razr unless I wanted to slice my way through town.