Cat Videos and Business Don’t Mix in These Bright Ads for a Dual-Screen Smartphone

Energy BBDO presents the Axon M from ZTE

Imagine what you could do with your smartphone if it had two screens.

The possibilities are … well, they may not be endless. But they are pretty entertaining in a new campaign for phone manufacturer ZTE from Energy BBDO. The foldable Axon M model has dual screens, and the agency suggests some ways to apply the feature with a couple of simple, sweet and brightly colored 30-second spots.

One features a fat orange cat, set against a frosty blue background, sitting at a work desk. It’s wearing a human shirt collar, and a tie. Its oversized ’80s-style glasses are askew. It clicks on an old-school mouse, and purrs into an intercom for coffee. A human (servile as humans should be, to cats) delivers a cappuccino.

The cat turns out, if it’s not redundant to say so, to be an asshole, swiping the mug onto the ground and snapping its head back to the camera with an asshole cat look on its face.

“One screen for business, and another for cat videos,” says the voiceover—a compelling message, because it’s clear that when you try to mix the two on one display, nothing is ever going to get done.

In the second ad, a yellow-clad, magnificently bearded miner makes an epic leap through a yellow sky and swings his pickax to slice open a giant candy-wrapper balloon floating in the clouds.

A rainbow of little hard candies—the type you might see in popular mobile game Candy Crush—pour out, cascading around him as he tumbles, beaming, to the ground and starts making candy angels.

“Double the screens to smash your high score,” says the voiceover, the implication apparently being that a larger display size will make it easier to play. (The Axon M lets users split the displays on the screen to use apps side by side, mirror the screens to share with a friend, or combine them into a single large screen.)

ZTE, a Chinese manufacturer, is the fourth-largest seller of smartphones in the U.S.—behind Samsung, Apple and LG. Most of its success, however, has come from lower-cost smartphones sold through prepaid carriers. The Axon M, available through AT&T, marks an effort to push more aggressively into the high-end smartphone market.

The two new ads, “Business Cat” and “Candy Crusher,” are Energy BBDO’s first work for the brand, which it won last year. More ads will launch in coming months.

“Dual Screens. Unlimited potential,” reads the tagline, in a promise that’s understandable, if not entirely convincing, for a feature that feels like a bit like a gimmick.

Overall, it’s a fun little introduction, though, even if the use of color block backgrounds seems a little familiar from somewhere else.

Campaign: ZTE “Axon M”
Agency: Energy BBDO
Client: ZTE
Title: “Business Cat” and “Candy Smasher”

Chief Creative Officer: Andrés Ordóñez
Creative Directors: Jonathan Linder, Michael Shirley
Senior Art Director: Dane Canada
Senior Copywriter: Brynna Aylward
Art Director: Michelle Liuzzo
Copywriter: Anish Easwar
Lead Designer: Hung Vinh
Designer: Jaehyuk Choi
Designer: Erin Knott

Group Strategy Director: Ludwig Ortiz
Client Service Director: Trent Buterbaugh
Group Account Director: Pete Ruest
Account Supervisor: Alfredo Lang

Head of Integrated Production: John Pratt
Executive Producer: Matt Scoville
Producer: Nina Xoomsai
Director of Business Affairs: Frank Tavolino
Business Manager: Gina Stevanovich

Production Company: American Filmworks
Director: Flamboyant Paradise
Executive Producer: Marcelo Paez
Director of Photographer: Leandro Filloy

Post Production & Animation: Gizmo
Executive Producer: Andrea Bacigalupo / Emmanuel Verruno
Producer: Eva Amuchástegui / Mercedes Serrano
Editor: Andrés Boero
Editor: Sabrina Gazzaneo

Technical Director: Christian Granados
Composite: Lautaro Azcuy / Francisco Biancardi / Pablo Ramallo
Character Design: Pablo Aschei / Federico Beret
3D Model: Laura Serna / Mauro Misiewics / Gustavo Federico
3D Rig: Eduardo Nuñez / Felix Cuevas
3D Shading / Textures / Fur / Feathers: Laura Serna / Sofía Garizzo / Luis Digenaro / Javier Zuccarino
3D Animation: Karina Alfonsi / Rafael Jimenez / Favian Ramos / Guillermo Marquez 
3D Lighting: Alejandro Ghio / Paolo Giordana / Pedro Sciammarella / Facundo Lavenia / Pablo Bellozas

Color: Pentimento
Colorist: Jorge Russo

Music Producer: Daniel Kuypers
Music: Andrew Oye

Sound Design: Another Country
Engineer: John Binder

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@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.