What are you saying?

“Be together. Not the same.”

You may recognize that tagline from Android’s recent series of TV ads:

(Also see this one and this one.)

It’s the type of tagline that makes my inner copywriter green with envy over its succinct brilliance.

Why do I like this so much? Why do I think about this tagline at odd moments during my day?

Besides the adorable ads themselves – that make me feel things – the tagline is outstanding. It shows the brand really knows its audience.

Now, you may be thinking, I’ve seen devices running Android all over the place being used by all different types of people. Who exactly is the Android user this ad is speaking to?

I think they’re speaking to the same group of people that Apple was speaking to when the “Think different” campaign hit the airwaves in 1997. People who like to tinker. People who like to break things and put them back together in new ways. People who want to be different, not just think different. People who want to be part of something big.

They are taking direct aim at Apple and its beautifully inflexible products, which can’t play in the open source world where Android shines.

Two basic human desires

Admittedly, being an Apple user since high school, I’ve never paid much attention to Android. I’ve had an iPhone since the first generation and have never considered buying any other smartphone.

That is – until my husband came home with a shiny new OnePlus One.

I should probably first say that he is not a typical electronics consumer. Before switching to an iMac in grad school, he never owned a computer he didn’t build himself. He’s the guy everyone we know calls when there’s something wrong with their ____ (iPad, iPhone, computer, router, passwords, etc.) He’s what I’d call a “tinkerer,” “maker,” or “hard core geek.”

Suddenly, my hard core geek had jumped from the smartphone mothership of Apple to this weird new world of Android. My eyes were wide open.

Those first few weeks I witnessed the playground he held in his hand, the excitement in his eyes as he showed me the wild things he was programming his phone to do. Think customized, customized, customized.

He is Android’s audience.

But with this recent round of TV ads, there’s a wider net being cast. Even aside from the obvious developer audience that is attracted to Android’s flexible openness, they’re honing in on an audience and a sentiment that’s very non-techie.

Android is targeting two very basic human desires: to be part of something and to be different from everyone else. That’s a message that works not only for geeks, but for artists, entrepreneurs, college students, teens. It’s specific, while also being somewhat universal.

And, most importantly, it’s a message that Apple can’t claim. At least, not about their smartphones. All iPhones are the same. You may have pages and pages of apps that I don’t have. You may have different wallpaper and a different home screen. You may even have a different model with a different color. But at their core, all iPhones run on an operating system that Apple controls. They each exist within hardware that you cannot open or change, and that only work with Apple chords.

Sure, that’s likely appealing to many smartphone users. Would two out of five people on the street even know what an operating system is?

But when you think about younger generations who are all about customizing, you start to see the Android appeal.

What’s the takeaway here for real estate marketers?

Android easily could have gone out with a message laden with the benefits of an open source operating system. But that would’ve fallen flat for everyone except my husband’s cohort.

They could’ve taken the “freedom” approach. But that would’ve been too ambiguous and non-specific.

Instead, they followed their biggest competitor’s cue and took direct aim at two basic human desires. And they’ve said something their competitor cannot say.

That is brilliant messaging.