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« Leaders of the 21st Century | Main | Sharing a common purpose »

July 16, 2007


Jan Biedermann

The referred study might be downloaded here:


Javier Marti

What's the exact logic behind the day/evening phones?

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Jan and Javier

Jan, thank you very much !! Any of our readers who are interested in the study, please go to the BBDO site for more.

Javier - good question. In advanced markets such as Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore in Asia; and Finland, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Austria etc in Europe - the vast majority of young employed population have two or more subscriptions. In most cases this also means two or more phones. (the world average according to Informa is that 28% of all owners of a mobile phone subscription have two or more subscriptions)

The worldwide replacement cycle for phones is already down to 18 months (according to Semiconductor Industry Association) and shrinking. Again in advanced markets, and for the young employed, it is much faster than that.

So in Japan a woman would get a new phone at least once per year. If you're into fashions, you do it at a much faster rate than that. And do that for a few years, you have a collection of phones which you can now "manage". Get one new phone that has good features like a high resolution camera and good music player; next time get a phone which is very slim and cool and sexy, for the night life. Etc.

So it becomes quite like shoes and handbags, having one for day-time use, another for night-time use.

Also just so you know, the fashion industry which is now appearing onto phones such as LG with Prada and Motorola with Dolce & Gabbana (and the iPhone obviously), in Japan just on NTT DoCoMo's network there are already two fashion brands offering phones - Benetton and Samantha Tabatha.

Thanks for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Hi Tomi, Jan
Cool Stuff on Generation C. Thanks for sharing!
I will try to make good us of it ;)

tim harrap

It is interesting that Japanese women have different phones for daytime and evening. It says to me that they make a clear delineation between these different social spaces - and, importantly, they are in charge of their social space not the technology. I like to see the human aspect override the technological determinism than can be all too prevalent.

Re: Fashion.
In the following book:
Production of Culture/Cultures of Production (Culture, Media & Identities) by Paul Du Gay; Roland Barthes in discussing fashion[clothes in this instance] is quoted as saying, "...if a person buys more than he (sic) wears then there exists fashion"pp163. And if the buying is greater than the dilapidation of the item in question therefore the greater the submission to fashion!!

Jan Zlotnick

Rethink#1: maybe two phones create a private, black-book world; day is separated by night. (
Rethink#2: the phone is fashion, yes, but more: the phone is the oxygen to the brain that can't breathe (produce, succeed, live) without information.
Rethink#3: the phone needs to look great and be juicy-hot-sexy because it must be ever present, exposed, ready (erect and whet - with opportunity); If a thong could offer communication, 3-piece suits would sport 'em. It's device as sport. Weaponry. Seduction. Power. But, in the end, self-gratification in a personal-relationship-challenged world.
Rethink#4: Ever notice people holding their phones in their hands (vs keeping them in their pockets/purses)? Guess who can't hear 'em? Guess who can't (scarier) feel 'em vibrate? Guess who feels safer, more connected, more relationship-Unchallenged, more powerful and sexy (happening: hooking up)?

Rethink Question: If this is the zig, what's the zag to come? how will the marketplace eventually counteract?


facebook/my space, et al marketplace doesn't care about privacy as much as the boomers,

tim harrap

"facebook/my space, et al marketplace doesn't care about privacy as much as the boomers"

That is the nub of the issue, but I would say that even younger than "boomers" are considered "dinosaurs" by the facebook/myspace generation. Mind you it is all fickle and emergent - easy come easy go - will facebook, second life etc be around and functioning in two years time or will they be (as undoubtably they will) usurped by newer formulations?

Will the capitalist system still be able to maintain a hold on people as they continue to usurp the current logics of social(monetary?) interactions? As the facebook generation grows up will they prefer "to have" or "to be" (Erich Fromm)?

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Krzystof, Tim and Jan,

Thank you for writing

Krzystof. Cheers !!

Tim (first comment) - good points. Yes, clearly Japanese women make that delineation between daytime (work) life and night-time life. But please do recognize, this is not just a Japanese women "thing". The same effect is seen worldwide, but to a lesser degree. Informa has counted that a fourth of all mobile phone owners have two or more subscriptions, and most of those have two or more phones. So the "daytime phone/evening phone" phenomenon also exists with Europeans, even some younger adult men - I know a few who behave like that... And before anyone says - Tomi you're one - no I'm not. I take BOTH of my phones to the evening as well ha-ha..

Jan - good points. About the zig and zag - one of the early assumptions was that users prefer only one device, and will thus want a converged phone, even if it is bigger, bulkier. What has happened, however - we report it from last year - that young people now think it is cool to own two phones, it is a sign you are important (young, employed, with two phones - so you must have a good job...)

I think the industry might be zigging when the customers are zagging, and what customers are even MORE willing to do, is to invest in the fashionable phones. They have a saying in the watch-making industry that its easier to sell a sixth watch to someone with five, than a second watch to someone with one. So once the (young, employed, addicted) phone user has two phones, and a new one comes to the market (think iPhone, N-95 etc) - suddenly you have to get the latest..

Tim (second) - good point. We (Alan and I) are monitoring this space very closely. One of the fascinating tidbits is how "real" the virtual persona, avatar, and social networking identity can become. In South Korea today for example there are many young people who spend more on branded clothing for their avatar than they spend on the same branded clothes for themselves. I discuss these in my fifth book Digital Korea (its already available at Amazon and at its publisher

Thanks for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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