And now time for what's becoming a regular segment on Tech and the City: Odd Marketing Campaign Watch.
This week it's Samsung's Z400, a 3G slider phone I recently reviewed for cnet.com.au. This one is curious because of the differences between the way the product is presented for Australian audiences and the way it's presented for the UK.
While Australian promo material has focused on the phone as an indispensable tool for mobile professionals -- albeit one curiously devoid of push e-mail and a decent browser -- the dedicated UK site has a decidedly different focus.
The promotional site focuses on practical jokes that Z400 owners can conduct on their hapless so-called friends, and proposes the phone's camera be used to capture evidence of the ensuing hilarity, in well-worn pranks such as the old "raw fish in the office drawer" jape.
The list of pranks to pull features the following:
Here's the perfect prank to play on the new guy. Just get a male toilet sign, place it over the female one and film the hilarious results.
Apparently "defend yourself in the industrial relations court when the traumatised new guy files a grievance with HR" didn't make the final edit. But the associated video clip that dramatises the Scenes From A Toilet -- complete with Benny Hill-influenced female squeal -- more than makes up for that omission.
Other pranks include that old chestnut, the "loosen the lid of the salt shaker so your pal gets a heaping mound of salt all over their ricotta pancakes" trick. All this supposedly sums up the phone's intended audience -- people who are supposed to be mobile professionals, but instead devote their days to behaving in "entertaining" ways that make their colleagues want to punch them in the face. It's the David Brent phone!
How to make an office enemy in one easy step
Just one more thing on the Z400. It's equipped with the "Mobile Tracker" system, a security feature that sends an SMS to a nominated number when the SIM card is replaced, providing the mobile number of the new card.
That could make for some interesting phone conversations -- what would you say to the person who stole your phone to try and convince them to return it?