- Google showcased the hands-free features of its latest smartphone by partnering with Domino's on an unconventional campaign. The pizza chain delivered the Pixel 4 smartphone in specially designed boxes to select people, along with instructions on how to use voice commands and physical gestures to operate the Android-based device, Ad Age reported.
- Google sent the special pizza boxes to more than 50 influencers with the idea that they would post videos to their YouTube channels. As demonstrated in an unboxing video by YouTube personality Josh Peck, who has 3.4 million subscribers, the Pixel 4 provides access to Google Assistant, letting users play music, search picture libraries and send texts with voice commands. The Pixel 4 also has front-facing motion sensors to track gestures like waving a hand to advance songs in a playlist.
- The tech giant also is sending the boxes to 5,000 phone salespeople at wireless retailers nationwide to urge them to test out the Pixel 4 and recommend it to customers. The Pixel 4 has a base price of $799 and will be available in stores on Oct. 24. Google worked with agency VMLY&R on the campaign, Ad Age reported.
Coming several weeks after market leaders Samsung and Apple introduced their latest smartphones, Google needed a way to stand out from the pack with its newest Pixel, whose market share is comparatively small. By partnering with influencers who can introduce the Pixel in videos that offer a fresh take on the popular unboxing genre, Google can reach tech-savvy younger consumers who are heavy viewers on YouTube. The video-sharing platform is used by 91% of U.S. adults ages 18 to 29, making it more popular than Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest among the demographic group, per Pew Research Center.
With the unboxing videos and influencer outreach, Google can demonstrate the hands-free features of the new device — features that come in handy while Pixel users are eating pizza, for example. The redesigned and enhanced Google Assistant is a major part of the Pixel 4's marketing focus.
While reviewers have praised Google's smartphone for features such as its high-quality camera, that hasn't convinced majority of consumers to abandon other brands. Chinese tech giant Huawei recently overtook Apple as the second-biggest maker of smartphones after Samsung, while Google isn't ranked in the top five, according to International Data Corp. The researcher estimated early this year that Pixel shipments grew 36% to 4.68 million in 2018 from a year earlier, but still made up just 0.33% of the total smartphone market.
The tech giant's annual "Made by Google" hardware event this year showcased the Pixel 4, revamped Pixel Buds headphones, a Pixelbook laptop, several Nest smart home devices and next month's launch of game streaming service Stadia. The Pixel 4 is available from every major U.S. carrier, a first for Google's smartphone line that previously was limited to Verizon or unlocked from Google and other vendors, CNBC reported.