November 18, 2017

What If Smartphones Had Warning Messages?

Over the last month, I’ve binged six seasons of Mad Men. I naively hoped it would provide me with ammunition to critique the advertising industry, but all it has done is encourage a whisky most evenings. In my effort to understand the art of manipulation, I’ve been duped, sucked in by Don Draper and his slick-talking buddies. What gets me is how often they reach for a stiff drink or cigarette: in the office, during dinner, and after sex. Pretty much all the time.

They were the vices back then. What’s ours? The smartphone? We’re on them just as often: before bed, during dinner or after sex. The smell of stale smoke may no longer linger, but our smartphones certainly do. And if you think Don Draper smoking two packs a day is alarming, our shameful statistic is that the average person touches their phone 2,617 times a day.

This got me thinking. What if smartphones had warning messages like cigarette packets? Some blunt notice to discourage over-use. While the jury is still out on whether the internet is addictive or not, I’ve learnt that a good ad-man never waits for scientific consensus. In Don Draper’s words: “he changes the conversation”.

This is my reverse Don Draper moment. Instead of trying to sell you the smartphone, I’m going to try to put you off it. So I’ve designed a variety of warning messages to convince you to stay well clear of your device. Consider it a smartphone cessation programme. You may snigger, but if the day of smartphone regulation comes, and Apple and Samsung are forced to package their devices with stern messages, I’ll be away laughing. Riding on my giant pot of gold.

The next generation iPhone

Here’s the old iPhone 6.

And here’s a pack of Marlboro Reds.

What happens when you combine the two together with the magic of Microsoft Paint? You get the next generation iPhone. I call it the iPhone .

The number of possibilities to customise these messages is vast. Here’s one for urban-dwellers.

Or those who mindlessly scroll on social media.

For those who distract easily at work.

Or obsess over the next ‘Instagrammable’ pic.

One for the paranoid.

And extra paranoid.

For people on a date.

And finally, those that love to Google everything.

Keen to stretch your paternalistic pretenses? Please leave any packaging ideas in the comments. In the meantime, happy scrolling.