The mobile phone nobody liked

Xelibri - Great advert….shame about the phone. 
In 2003 it was easy to impress people with something new. Or so Siemens thought. In the race to develop the burgeoning mobile phone range Siemens Mobile came up with a fashion orientated model called Xelibri. In all there were four models, each of them designed in a manner that seemed to pay little mind to functionality. It is said that Star Trek was an influence on the design which was small enough to cup in your hand, smaller than smartphones are now. The first models dubbed `Space on Earth` were designed by Siemens in house and a second, called `Fashion Extravaganza` were created by IDEO Design, a separate company. 

The outwardly intriguing appearance of the phones which had an oddly curved shape hid a less impressive secret. These were models with only basic features like SMS and voice. People who purchased them also found the keypads difficult to use. Another factor on their lack of success was that the Siemens logo was hidden away on the battery cover so they lacked that crucial branding that people always think is probably more important than the actual product. The phone did not catch on and the models only lasted for about a year in the market, being abandoned in mid- 2004 and all but forgotten now.

However, what is better remembered is the advert that was made to promote it and shown in cinemas and on television.  The ad was called `Face of the Future` and also had the slogan `That’s So Tomorrow`.It is set in a future where dancing is outlawed only for one man to break the rule by jiving publicly whereupon he is hunted by the authorities. The ad brilliantly features various items that we used to associate with the future as well as parodies of various American stereotypes. The remarkable aspect is that every single person in the ad - and there are hundreds- has the face of the same actor. Nowadays there is probably some software that can do this better but the effect holds up pretty well for 14 years ago. The makers of the ad did not stint in portraying a wide range of character types- controversially not all of them white and some of different sizes. The music is relentlessly techno perhaps to suggest an oppressive society or perhaps because it sounded cool in 2003.

The ad was made by the company Mother London and the actor whose face was used in various disguises for every character was Joel Moore who also appears as himself committing the dance crime. Oh and he did the music. The ad was directed by... Joel Moore. You see what they’ve did! To film the ad Joel spent a week dressed as all the characters acting out their parts in front of a green screen wearing green clothes while watching footage of various actors actually doing the actions on location. And the result as you can see is fantastic!


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