Droga5 behind the wheel (mostly) as Google drives into the phone market with Pixel

Google is entering the smartphone wars with its new Pixel Phone (or is that phone?). Google actually had a crack at this notoriously tough market when it bought Motorola a few years back. That didn’t work although Google got its mitts on Motorola’s patents, which, presumably, played a role in the development of this new device.

Droga5 was the short-lived agency for Mototorola, now it’s back to helm the launch of Pixel.

Not this explanatory launch film although it’s quite Droga5-ish.

But this one transforming Google’s search bar into a phone, over the usual scenes from happy phone land.

There’ll be lots of other stuff (including more films) with the headliner grabber the first 24-hour takeover of Snapchat.

Google needs to show it can do something else off its own bat aside from tending its humongously lucrative data-rich “walled garden.” The phone seems to have lots of features, including seven-hour battery recharging in 15 minutes (although seven hours doesn’t get you through a working day). Virtual reality features seem to be a big part of future plans.

Its entry into the market won’t improve the mood of Apple’s increasingly irritable Tim Cook, smarting at cheeky demands for Apple to pay taxes (Google has some of this too, of course) and criticism of Apple’s failure to develop new products. Google’s repeated claim here that Pixel is really new and not old stuff in new garb is clearly aimed at Apple’s iPhone 7.

But the smartphone market isn’t just about these two of course: there’s Samsung and, increasingly, China’s Huawei.

Pixel’s fortunes probably depend as much on price as anything else.

This campaign? The first film was, presumably, made in-house at Google. Droga5 describes its relationship with Google as a partnership. Google, like Apple, is an agency client with formidable creative resources of its own. Apple has had a solid if shifting relationship with TBWA\Media Arts Lab for decades. D5 is doubtless hoping for the same.

MAA creative scale: 7.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.