Net access device extends Motorola's consumer push

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As the wireless market heats up, Motorola hopes to extend its consumer marketing comeback.

Building on its "Web W/O Wires" campaign from McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, Motorola will launch a new mobile Internet access device during ABC's March 26 Academy Awards broadcast. The spot follows the company's Super Bowl appearance, when it debuted two well-received spots -- one for a two-way radio, the other for a Web-browsing phone.

PROVING NAYSAYERS WRONG

Traditionally strong in engineering and business-to-business alliances and products, the company is out to prove the naysayers wrong with an aggressive consumer marketing bid for its hardware. Currently Motorola is No. 2 behind Nokia in wireless handset market share, both globally and in the U.S.

Motorola's 1999 ad spending weighed in at $100 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Geoffrey Frost, VP-consumer communications, and Nike's former marketing chief, said his budget is "significantly up" this year, but declined to specify a percentage increase.

Motorola executives remained coy about the Oscar spot, but the 60-second ad is said to involve the creation of a totally digital person. The company worked with "Titanic" director James Cameron's Digital Domain to produce it. (For a roundup of Oscar advertisers, see story on Page 40.)

"It's an attempt to create a believable person digitally," Mr. Frost said. The device, which he declined to name, can be "accessed from anywhere" and is described as a voice-driven Internet navigation product.

As a tie-in to the Oscar ad, Motorola will arrange for consumers to sample the product by visiting a dedicated Web site. Extensive Internet marketing activities are planned.

QUIRKY SHAPE APPEAL

Other consumer marketing priorities revolve around advertising next-generation Web-access devices and an emphasis on new product designs with "more quirky and more intensely appealing shapes," Mr. Frost added.

Motorola recently opened design centers in Milan and Tokyo to focus on developing distinctive products that will help differentiate the brand in the marketplace.

In May, Motorola expects to launch a Web phone dubbed V. (pronounced V-dot), a wireless e-talk device for teens and tweens. A substantial promotion with wireless service providers and an advertising campaign are in the works.

The youth market is critical for Motorola. "The battlefield for this is really at the level of popular culture now," Mr. Frost said.

`WHOLE NEW WORLD'

Motorola, like its rivals Nokia and Ericsson, is busily partnering with content providers to develop mobile commerce and data delivery via wireless handsets and other devices.

The company has nearly 20 partners such as Amazon and Yahoo!, and expects that number to grow to more than 100 in the next year or two.

"Where does the advertising stop and the content begin? . . . This is a whole new world whether you're a hardware maker, carrier or content provider," Mr. Frost said.

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