Not "the free phone" (was: Re: Again: Advertising thoughts

Ian Darwin ian at
Mon Jul 16 19:10:04 CEST 2007

> I completely agree. My idea is to make two advertisment campains: one on 
> "maisntream media": maybe tv, maybe radio, flyre, poster, newspapers, 
> wathever.  This ads would be something like: "The free phone, OpenMoko. 
> The only one with ...." "The OpenMoko: now with builtin navigator" and 
> so on. Don't even THINK of using "based on Linux Kernel 2.6.xx" or "With 
> powerful ssh acess"

Calling it "the free(d) phone" to consumers (as opposed to developers) 
is going to engender an enormous amount of confusion and ill-will.

Why? Because (at least in North America) the major carriers have spent 
years, and billions of dollars, totally subverting the meaning of the 
phrase "free phone" to mean "we give you the cheapest phone we can find 
and don't charge you for this piece of junk when you lock into a two- or 
three-year plan at some exorbitant rate that obviously includes the cost 
of the phone amortized."

Seriously, ask consumers what a "free phone" means. at least 11 out of 
10 will give you the definition above, at least the parts they understand.

A consumer ad campaign is NOT the place to push the "free as in beer vs 
free as in speech" argument. The phrase "free phone" already means the 
opposite of what we want it to mean. It's done, finished, over. Move on.

Call it something else in the consumer market. The Flexible Phone. The 
Does-what-you-want-not-what the big corporations want. I don't know.

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