Verizon Presents: Alien Technology

Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) creeped us out last November. In support of the minty-fresh Droid smartphone, the network and handset maker poured aggressive TV ads all over the nation, featuring futuristic fighter jets that carpet-bombed rural America with Droid delivery pods.

As fellow Fool Nathan Alderman put it, the ad features: "The Droid! Raining randomly from the sky to blast holes in your property and claw its way into your heart! With actual claws!"

Yeah, it was a bit creepy. But the lavish ad campaign, which started there, and kept going with "Droid Does" spots highlighting how Droid could beat the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone at certain tasks, propelled the new phone to monster sales. It was Verizon's first Android phone, Motorola's first good Android phone, and a savior for both companies. Droid is now the biggest-selling Android phone on the market. Despite the somewhat unnerving early ads, the marketing strategy clearly worked.

But wait -- there's more!
So they're doing it again. In support of today's Droid X launch, Verizon went with ultra-creepy instead of violent this time.

Scientists wearing hazard suits enter the leaf-shutter door of a concrete bunker in a barren desert landscape. Down narrow, hexagonal hallways they go, to the heartbeat-like cadence of a lonely piano, followed by a richer ensemble with shrieking strings and unrelenting chord hits. Letters in Newhouse DT typeface flash on the screen in a random pattern, and you're left guessing what they will spell out.

A discarded delivery pod on the floor; rusty metal and cracked concrete; finally, two of the intruders face off against another Droid delivery pod twirling in midair. Nervous glances between them lead into the random letters congealing into: "tomorrow." And with a menacing click it's over. You get about one second to see the product name, the logos of the backing companies, and a web address for the phone.

So what?
I get it. It's alien technology, the kind we puny humans should just be grateful to see or touch. Still, it's over the top in an Alien kind of way. I'm talking Sigourney Weaver and toothsome monsters here. So you have to be a macho dude with a hazard suit to use this phone, then? Leave the iPhone to the less testosterone-laden people?

The product is good; some say good enough to threaten the iPhone 4. Will the marketing message hit home? Well, you gotta hand it to Verizon for staying on message with these offbeat Droid ads. This stuff certainly creates brand awareness, and that's a start.

Did this Droid ad bomb, too, or are you left thirsting for more? Discuss in the comments below.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. He prefers GLaDOS over HAL 9000 and chocolate ice cream over strawberry. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.


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