Monday, June 26, 2006

Branding Motorola cell phones with the stars

When you live in Chicago, the suburbs seem so far away. We refer to them as "the suburbs" with a what-a-drag attitude.

But now maybe it seems Motorola headquarters are perfectly located in Schaumburg, IL “close to the customer” – just across the tollway from IKEA and Woodfield Mall. Especially as that they look to become the American Idol of cell phones.

International Idol, more like it.

Because the United States only accounts for 16% of phone shipments, Motorola is turning to soccer star David Beckham, rocker Bono of U2, Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova, and Indian heart-throb Abhishek Bachchan to sell their phones. They have landed the most popular stars in the whole world to pose with their phones, have parties with their phones, and even use their phone to create social change.

That is exactly what Motorola and Bono have teamed up to do. Bono has his own phone, which may just look like a red version of the Slvr, but it's part of Bono's Product Red project. Product Red partners with other brands to fight AIDS and pestilence in the developing world by donating a portion of sales. Motorola is the fifth company to join Product Red, and is successful because of Bono's number 4 ranking in the "Celebrity 100" list of Forbes Magazine.

Hey, if Beckham can sell phones during the World Cup to soccer fans, and Bono can help people with AIDS by selling phones, that's a smart brand. People are attracted to global superstars and activists, and Motorola has realized that with their global likeability, the phones will sell.

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