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Brand X: Gadget Freaks

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Brand: Modo
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy (Portland)
Creative Directors: Susan Hoffman and Jeff Kling

For weeks, the street posters plastered throughout the city aimed to confound: An oddly cropped shot of a shirtless dude in mid-leap, for instance, was headlined MOJO? and tag-lined simply modo.net. Now, in a new series of print ads, the Modo itself -- a handheld gadget that uses pager technology to download and display listings of New York City bars, restaurants, and other diversions -- is shown under photos of sexy young couples. A shot of gallerygoers is headlined make your brain sexier to the other brains. A couple eating sushi gets way, way better than sex. but only if it leads to some. Why would Modo (the brainchild of San Francisco-based Scout Electromedia) morph from an aggressively obscure branding campaign to an aggressively obtuse product pitch? Because all that the overpriced Modo ($99 at Virgin Megastores) has going for it is its cool factor -- a sort of murky mystique buttressed by the suggestion that cool people are going to use this thing to hook up with other cool people. Modo's new tag line is YOUR GUIDE TO WHATEVER YOU'D RATHER BE DOING. But really cool (and smart) people would probably rather not carry around another gadget -- no matter how cute and iMac-y it is -- when their Web-ready cell phones can serve up much the same information.


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