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Monday, August 03, 2021


If, like me, you’ve caught a recent TV commercial for the Palm Pre and come away with a confused shudder, know that the agency behind the dreamlike look has an explanation:

It’s the how-it-works part of the Palm Pre push that [ad agency] Modernista has been holding back on in favor of more visually stimulating ads, while Sprint and its agency of record, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, tout the seamless integration of applications such as Facebook.

“It’s a very different look and feel for this sector,” [Modernista executive creative director Gary] Koepke said, comparing the humanized feel of Palm Pre’s ads to its competitors. “There’s nobody involved in an iPhone ad, and ‘Your life is on BlackBerry’ — isn’t that great? Instead of having a life? We wanted a middle ground between those two places — what about the people who want a really great smartphone?”

I wonder what’s in that pipe they’re smoking at Modernista, if they think that that fuzzy-soft lighting surrounding commercial actress/spokesperson Tamara Hope conveys a “humanized feel”. Combined with her monotoned monologue, the entire impression is almost anti-human. Presenting that as the pitch, absent any real focus on the supposed “iPhone killer” phone, results in a mushy mess. It might work if the spot were being oversaturated on every television channel like car commercials are, but it’s not, so it just doesn’t work.

Frankly, Koepke’s justification of this unconventional approach comes off as damage control. If the ads were really doing their job in generating effective product buzz, they wouldn’t need an explanation. And since the Pre doesn’t seem to be selling, I have a feeling Modernista will be 86ed soon enough.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/03/2021 05:51pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Creative, Tech
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4 Feedbacks »
  1. Those Palm Pre commercials freak out a lot of people. I change the channel when they come on. I’m expecting her eyes to glow red and then she’ll tell me to destroy a Blackberry or iPhone.

    Comment by Marvo — 08/03/2021 @ 5:57 PM

  2. Her eyes don’t glow in this tricked-out spot, but the monstro-voice should hypnotize you real good:

    Comment by CT — 08/03/2021 @ 6:28 PM

  3. haha, you hit the nail on the head! These ads are super creepy. So creepy indeed that I actually thought it was CGI and not an actress.And now I’m just confused. If you use a human, she should look like a human. If she looks like a robot, people would assume she is a robot. I’m with you - it sounds like (rather unsuccessful) damage control.

    Comment by Maria — 08/18/2009 @ 11:51 PM

  4. @Maria: all that, plus they keep pounding away at the Pre’s ability to run multiple apps, which the average consumer doesn’t care about (at least, not to the point where it’s a deciding factor in purchase). Poor advertising/marketing messaging all around.

    Comment by CT — 08/19/2009 @ 9:41 AM

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