Snapdragon Processor Ad Features a CGI Dragon, and My Life Is Complete

I’ve mentioned “geek marketing” a few times on this blog, mostly in reference to HBO and its clever ad campaign to promote “Game of Thrones” Season 3.

The HBO ads marketed a geek product, so it made sense to show off dragon silhouettes in the New York Times and a promotional website where you can record yourself swearing the Night’s Watch oath. But how effective is geek marketing for companies looking to sell a product to the general public?

Ask Qualcomm. They’ll tell you, “It’s Super Effective!”

Behold this gem of an advertisement for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors:

If you’d tried to convince me back in high school that dragons would one day be as socially acceptable as the Geico gecko and the Pillsbury doughboy, I would never have believed you. I was bullied for wearing dragon t-shirts and reading fantasy, and now, years later, a freakin’ dragon stars in a telecom ad made to look like an epic fantasy movie trailer!

Vindication, my friends. Vindication.

James Dawson-Hollis, one of the creative leads at Ogilvy & Mather marketing agency, told that the ad showcases the Snapdragon processor in a way that makes consumers sit up and pay attention:

“Our challenge was to create an engaging campaign with the power to educate people about why they should care about what’s inside their devices. With this marketing push, we’re shifting consumers’ attention to what matters most in a smartphone or tablet—a powerful processor that makes your device run faster, longer, and smarter. By showing consumers how Qualcomm’s Snapdragon makes mobile worthwhile, we’ll redefine what people look for in a device.”

There’s only one real downside to using dragons as marketing mascots, and that’s the threat they pose to the wallets of geeks everywhere. I don’t know about you, but I can totally be convinced to buy ANYTHING as long as there’s a dragon in the ad for it.


Try to resist the uncanny salesmanship of this little guy. JUST TRY.


Do “Fake Geeks” Exist, and Why Do We Care?

I’ve said before on this blog that I’m not a fantasy purist. That means that I don’t think you need to be able to recite the royal lineage of Númenor from memory to consider yourself a Tolkien fan. (Though it would earn you bonus geek points, and my lifelong friendship.) It also means that if you didn’t know who George R. R. Martin was before “Game of Thrones” debuted on HBO, I won’t call you a poser for wearing that t-shirt emblazoned with the words “WINTER IS COMING” beneath a direwolf head.

"Pumpkins Are Coming" © Kailey Rynne

If you were really cool, you’d carve it into a Halloween pumpkin, like my mom and I did.

But I’ve also talked about how mainstream acceptance of fantasy has encouraged the cheapening of fantasy as a genre. And it isn’t just fantasy—it’s all of geekdom. The same sort of people who bullied me for being “weird” in high school are now the ones watching Doctor Who and dressing up as the Avengers at comic cons.

This is a good thing, right? I mean, we’ve been trying for years to convince people that Tolkien and GRRM and Doctor Who and comic books are awesome! Even if they aren’t as obsessed wither, that is, as interested in—geek culture as we are, shouldn’t we be happy to see the fandom growing, to see others experiencing that joy we’ve felt all along?

But we aren’t happy, are we? Deep down inside, a lot of so-called geeks feel uncomfortable, annoyed or even spiteful around newcomers who started calling themselves geeks only after being a geek became cool.

I think it’s equal parts pride, resentment and mistrust because:

  • We were playing video games long before “Call of Duty.” Ever heard of Zelda?
  • Ten years ago you were stealing our lunch money, and now you want to be one of us?
  • You’re going to ruin the things we love with your dirty pop-culture, you goddamn hipsters.

Some geeks even scorn or shun those who haven’t done enough to “prove” their geekiness. Which leads me to an important question:

Do fake geeks exist?

It’s a question that’s been on my mind ever since watching this YouTube video by albinwonderland, posted on December 1 of last year:

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