Wileyfox offers up to 42% off its smartphones (with one massive catch)
Adverts are everywhere. In newspapers, on television, in magazines, on trains, on buses, in virtual reality, on the radio, on apps, in games and even slightly to the left and right of the text you’re reading right this second. Your phone lock screen is – relatively speaking – a calming oasis where nobody will try to persuade you to part with your cash, but one company has eyes on that prime real estate: British budget phone builder Wileyfox.
The proposition is a relatively straightforward one: agree to have adverts on your phone’s lock screen, and you’ll get a substantial discount on the price of the phone. The calculation from Wileyfox is that in the long run, they’ll earn more from your eyeballs than they would from taking your money upfront.
It’s not an entirely new concept: Amazon offers an ad-supported Kindle with a £10 discount (euphemistically labelled as including “special offers”), but Wileyfox’s proposition is considerably more generous: up to 42% off, in fact. The entry-level Spark Plus drops from £120 to £70; the Spark X and Swift 2 drop £60 each, falling to £80 and £100 respectively; and the Swift 2 Plus falls from £190 to £120.
Before you find yourself hovering above the order button though, I feel duty-bound to inform you that the results are horrible. I mean really horrible. How would you feel about being advertised pizza at 9:30 in the morning? Because that’s just what happened to me on a review sample Swift 2 Plus.
Also, I don’t want to brag, but I’m the kind of guy that can now get free tickets to Ministry of Sound.
And if you ever need last-minute Hanukkah recipes, I’m your man.
In other words, I wouldn’t make that deal if I were you, even though Wileyfox will let you opt out for a £40 payment further down the line.
The thing about the Kindle offer is that it works, in part, because you have to buy a Kindle outright. Most people don’t buy their phones SIM-free, and given the choice, I suspect most people would favour paying in instalments via a monthly contract over saving a few quid with the lock screen.
Conceptually, the idea of ads on the lock screen isn’t too far removed from in-app advertising. But somehow, in practice, it’s an experience I can’t see catching on – not in its current form anyway. Like mixing steak and ice cream, if nobody’s done it before, there’s usually a very good reason for it.