Break your expensive gadget? Just tell them the ads told you to do it - Macenstein

Break your expensive gadget? Just tell them the ads told you to do it

So what’s the deal with expensive electronics being used as dominoes in ads?

If you watched this September’s Apple Special Event address, you may remember this shot of Steve Jobs standing next to the new nano’s ad campaign pic (approx. 24:13 in).

That pic was also used that week on the Apple homepage to promote the new nano, and while I thought it was certainly cute, I was a little surprised in this age of “suing a company for spilling coffee on yourself” that there was no asterisk mentioning you should not use your nano as dominoes. You might think that such a statement would be asinine (and I wouldn’t argue) except for the fact that I have found most people are asinine, and depicting your device being knocked down or banged up without consequence could be asking for trouble.

At the time, I wondered if perhaps Apple’s nano domino idea wasn’t somewhat inspired by the famous Tekserve ad below, although Tekserve’s ad makes more sense as they are in the business of fixing broken Apple gear, something that would obviously happen if you actually used your iPod as dominoes.

This Thanksgiving I noticed the trend of portraying expensive electronics as dominoes in ads lives on, in not one, but TWO new spots I saw during the Jets/Cowboys debacle.

First up is an ad for the would-be iPhone killer, Verizon’s Voyager.

This ad shows thousands of the expensive (and likely not impact-friendly) touchscreen phones used as dominoes. The only disclaimer this ad shows is a “Some images simulated” tag, and then the standard phone contract mumbo jumbo at the end. Not a “Don’t try this at home, professional stunt phones used” disclaimer to be found.

The second ad (and more effective, in my mind) is an ad for Sirius Satellite Radio which shows the evolution of music players. As each successive generation is knocked over (domino style), we see 8-tracks hit cassettes, which hit CD’s, and then even iPods. The reason this ad is better (from a campaign perspective) is that the only thing that does not get knocked down is the Sirius player, and in fact, the iPod appears to bow down before it. At least Sirius doesn’t have to worry about anyone saying “Your ad said I could use it as dominoes” when they bring in a damaged unit for repair.

Here’s a Sony Ericson ad, also ending in a shot of their phones used as dominoes.

I cannot criticize this ad, because its use of a horrible cover of the theme to The Never Ending Story makes it awesome. Suffice it to say, using electronics, and phones in particular, as dominoes is not a new thing, and Verizon hopefully got a “recycled idea ” discount from the advertising firm behind their ad.

And here’s yet another phone ad (this time from Portugal), almost identical to the Sony one above, except the fellow catches his Nokia phone in the nick of time.

So, next time your nano, Voyager or other electronic device gets knocked over and stops working, check YouTube and see if some brilliant ad execs decided the device’s rectangular shape all but demanded it appear as a domino in an ad. You might be able to get a replacement, and it will hurt a lot less than spilling boiling coffee on your lap.

(Oh, for the record, the best use of the “Domino Effect” in any ad campaign thus far is of course the ad for Guinness, seen below).

4 Responses to “Break your expensive gadget? Just tell them the ads told you to do it”
  1. Peter says:

    The Guinness ad certainly tells me that it’s ok to enjoy a frosty col one, while playing with pyrotechnics…..

    At least that’s what I’ll quote in the lawsuit.

    I had no idea that these products were so resilient! They should start making airplanes out of whatever materials they’re using for phones, and ipods.

    Must be some super secret squirrel type of stuff….

  2. Peter, the Guinness ad clearly implies, if you are going to drink and do flaming dominoes, alert the fire department beforehand.
    -The Doc

  3. Peter says:

    What in the world was I thinking?!?!

    I should offer the man with the fire hose a “Cold One” (see: Strongbad Emails, The Theory of Ones)

    Then perhaps they could give me tips on how to possibly make the flamin Dominos better!

  4. Conor says:

    Dude, what a great post! It’s bizarre how much I liked it. I think I just very much appreciate that you so meticulously combed YouTube for examples of the domino effect in electronics advertisements. How thought-provoking!

    You’ve got me as a reader now, buddy.

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