Does your phone own you, asks Motorola

By Anirban Roy Choudhury , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | December 05, 2017
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We spoke to Rachna Lather, Marketing Head, Motorola and Lenovo Mobiles India, to know more about the initiative.

Not always do we find the baker scrutinising his own bread or rather, talking about the hazardous side of his wares. But that's not the case with smartphone manufacturing giant, Motorola, who recently rolled out an initiative to bring about a phone-life balance in a user's life. The US-based tech firm ask users a simple question - 'Do you own your phone or does your phone own you?'

The phone maker has hosted a website - phonelifebalance.motorola.com - where visitors are asked to participate in an online quiz that asks a series of questions including - "How many hours a day is your phone within arm's reach?" and "If you're using a toilet, what's the likelihood you're also using a phone?" At the end of the quiz, based on the answers, participants are rated on levels between 1 and 5. Level 5 categorises them as 'Phonatics'; Level 4 as 'Phonophiles'; Level 3, 'Phone-Prone'; Level 2, 'Mindfully mobile'; and Level 1s are 'Phonosapiens'. Each level is also explained with a quirky write-up about the category type.

Rachna Lather Rachna Lather

The website does not ask for an email id or phone number and hence, it's not a straightforward data sourcing initiative; instead, it is a global campaign orchestrated after research that was conducted in New York, Berlin, Shanghai, Sao Paolo, and Mumbai. "The common insight derived from the study was that we are mindlessly using our phones. That is when we said, being the inventor of mobile phones, we should take the onus and do something so that the people use it the right way," explains Rachna Lather, marketing head, Motorola and Lenovo Mobiles India, when discussing how the phone-life balance initiative came to be.

The website also features a video titled 'Hello Diwali' showcasing various scenes with people engrossed in their mobile phones and, as a result, are missing out on the Diwali extravaganza going on all around them. The video is created by Ogilvy & Mather's Bengaluru team. In January 2018, Motorola will roll out the campaign globally to all its major markets. The original idea has come from O&M New York, informs Lather. "The global campaign will have the same format and questions; there will be a new video which is more relevant to that particular market," she adds.


Screenshots from the Motorola phone-life balance website
Click on the images to enlarge

But the more one uses a phone the better it is for the maker; why is Motorola questioning the utilisation? It's like an alcohol brand saying drink less. "It's great that you have drawn that analogy," Lather replies, adding, "In that case, we want to draw inspiration from Heineken saying 'Drink Responsibly'. Nowhere are we saying that smartphones are bad; stop using them. We are simply saying use them mindfully."

Lather then goes on to explain a real-life reference as to why it is important for a smartphone manufacturer to pick up the issue through a large scale global campaign, "Recently, I visited a restaurant and I saw a family of four sitting at another table. There were two grown up kids with their middle age parents; all four of them were engrossed in their phones throughout. The food arrived, drinks arrived, but there was hardly any conversation. Liking the Facebook post of a friend residing miles away has become more important than speaking to the one sitting next to you. We want to change that," says Lather.

The website showcases data on the basis of the answers gathered. Current data depicted on the website features information gathered from participants located in countries like Slovakia, Singapore and Australia, among others. But the global campaign is set to roll out this January, right? "The reason why you are able to see data from other countries is because Motorola and Lenovo employees from across the world have already participated in the quiz," she responds. Lather then shared insights received from the Indian market and among many, the one that she is most amused with is that 92 percent of Indian smartphone users check their mobile phones repeatedly without anything changing.

Here are a few key findings so far:-

• 92% Indians check their phones repeatedly without anything changing
• 42% Indians find it easier to stay away from their families for a week than their phones
• 21hrs is the average time for which Indians keep their phones within arm's reach
• 56% Indians carry their phones to the dinner table out of which 37% keep their phones on the table
• 74% Indians feel distressed if you take their phone away on a weekend
• 61% Indians are likely to check their phone while their friends are checking theirs
• 58% Indians use their phones while they are using the toilet
• 81% people check their phone during a wedding ceremony, while making out, in the shower or at a funeral
• 66% people check their phone for texts, emails or social updates before getting out of bed in the morning.
• 54% people will get distracted while talking to someone else

Motorola has tied up with Professor Shyleswari M. Rao, dean, consultant, Indian Society of Applied Behavioural Science and director, Ved Vyas Inner Space. "She is going to help us take the initiative further on-ground," informs Lather. She adds, "We plan to tie up with colleges in top metros which will enable us to interact with their students. We plan to find a solution to this problem which we believe, can come from collective thinking."

Lather feels the first phase of the campaign, which was to get people to land on the website page, has been a great success and now it's all about the on-ground efforts. To make people aware of the initiative, Motorola is running print ads, outdoor hoardings and using various marketing tools on digital. Television is yet to be used, but Lather does not rule it out, "We believe our audience is mostly on digital and since our target in the initial phase was to get people to the quiz, digital worked perfectly for us. From a reach point of view, we are very happy, so I don't see the need for TV spots yet." she concludes.

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