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Behind the Creepy Palm Pre Ad Campaign

palm commercial Advertising Age has published an article that takes a look at Palm's much maligned advertising for the Palm Pre. The editorial takes a look at the mixed reaction the ads have been generating online and offers a preview of additional new Palm campaigns that are in the works.

The article also features a number of quotes and explanations from the executive director of Modernista, the firm which developed the campaign. Mr. Koepke doesn't quite get the creepiness factor and defends the Tamara Hope spots saying:

"We weren't trying to creep people out, but one thing I have learned now in this digital age is people can be as rude as they want as long as they don't have to look you in the face," Mr. Koepke said. "The Pre is probably being talked about more than other phones right now because of the marketing and advertising, and that's a good thing. Could the ads work harder to show exactly how the phone works? Yes, but we knew it would be polarizing people to have a woman not shout at them and tell an interesting story."

Kattan Palm bollywoodThe article also reveals two new Palm Pre campaigns that have yet to air. Palm will be sponsoring some kind of Bollywood show on the International Film Channel beging August 6th. These commercials will feature SNL vet Chris Kattan in a mini-series where Kattan uses a Pre to help him out of different scenarios.

Palm will also soon begin a YouTube video campaign that includes a series of webisodes. Titled "Peter Mehlman's Narrow World of Sports," this campaign is set to kick off on August 9th.

Related: YouTube Link (parody)

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Quote

abosco @ 8/3/2009 12:00:58 PM # M Q
one thing I have learned now in this digital age is people can be as rude as they want as long as they don't have to look you in the face," Mr. Koepke said.

You work in advertising, and you didn't realize a large community of anonymous people could be rude? You should be fired for being so naive.

To consider this campaign polarizing would be misleading. That implies there are two poles. In this instance, everybody is aligned on one side. We hate the ads.

RE: Quote
SeldomVisitor @ 8/3/2009 12:04:10 PM # Q
== "...The Pre is probably being talked about more than other phones
== right now because of the marketing and advertising..."

Incorrect.

The =ads= are being talked about - almost NO ONE is mentioning the Pre w.r.t. those ads.

That's fail.


RE: Quote
sbono13 @ 8/3/2009 2:18:45 PM # Q
The =ads= are being talked about - almost NO ONE is mentioning the Pre w.r.t. those ads.

Funny, I Googled "Creepy Ad Campaign," and didn't find a single relevant hit that didn't also mention Pre.

RE: Quote
mikecane @ 8/3/2009 2:53:42 PM # Q
Sounds like the kind of guy who'd tell people to touch his monkey and then wonder why no one wants to be around him.

And yeah, dickwad, I'd say that TO YOUR FACE.

RE: Quote
SeldomVisitor @ 8/3/2009 3:39:07 PM # Q
> ...Funny...

No, not funny, simply stupid.

To make the words clearer for someone like you, let's try that sentence a-GAIN:

>> The =ads= are being talked about - almost NO ONE is mentioning
>> in a meaningful way the Pre w.r.t. those ads...

RE: Quote
bhartman34 @ 8/3/2009 4:39:07 PM # Q
SeldomVisitor wrote:
> ...Funny...

No, not funny, simply stupid.

To make the words clearer for someone like you, let's try that sentence a-GAIN:

>> The =ads= are being talked about - almost NO ONE is mentioning
>> in a meaningful way the Pre w.r.t. those ads...

I agree, SV. The ads are shit. And the reason the ads are shit is the exact reason you identified: They don't get people talking about the Pre. At most, they get people talking about "that creepy Pre ad girl", or some such reference. Having a memorable commercial is of no value if people remember the wrong things about it.

Unfortunately, people tend to overlook the fact that remembering a product and remembering an ad are two different things. Lots of ads get aired wherein you see 29 seconds worth of artsy, abstract style, and only get 1 second of exposure for the actual product. And those kinds of ads ultimately fail.

A tv ad is not supposed to be a Fellini film.

RE: Quote
twrock @ 8/3/2009 8:12:35 PM # Q
"...one thing I have learned now in this digital age is people can be as rude as they want as long as they don't have to look you in the face," Mr. Koepke said.

That is the whiniest thing I've heard all week, maybe all month. No, I think the problem is that you aren't listening to "normal" people, and the people you've surrounded yourself with didn't have the guts to tell you that something was creepy about the commercials long before they aired. My guess is that all the advertising people you surround yourself with are just stroking your ego (and their own) by telling you how "innovative" and "artistic" these ads are, without any of you considering the whole point of advertising is to sell a product (usually to "average" people).

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?
RE: Quote
SeldomVisitor @ 8/4/2009 3:01:58 AM # Q
I think he's probably talking as Palm's former advertising agency. He's allowed to whine.

[I can't imagine an ad agency STILL contracted to Palm speaking publicly]


RE: Quote
Scud @ 8/4/2009 12:36:15 PM # Q
abosco wrote:
In this instance, everybody is aligned on one side. We hate the ads.

Everybody? Speak for yourself. :D

The fact that less people post positive messages doesn't mean that they are in minority.

Apparently those ads appeal to polite and intelligent people, that's all. :)

RE: Quote
BaalthazaaR @ 8/4/2009 3:51:40 PM # Q
Scud wrote:
abosco wrote:
In this instance, everybody is aligned on one side. We hate the ads.

Everybody? Speak for yourself. :D

The fact that less people post positive messages doesn't mean that they are in minority.

Apparently those ads appeal to polite and intelligent people, that's all. :)

The emperor has no clothes... Sorry couldn't resist :-P

Reply to this comment

Why is this creepy?

loftwyr @ 8/3/2009 1:02:06 PM # Q
Because it looks like painting and not some hand showing you phone features? Because it's not about geeks and their toys?

I love this ad. It's interesting, it stands out from the rest of the screaming "new features" type of advertising.

Fine, it doesn't talk to 500 year old palm pro users. Who cares? It's a great ad that has you talking about it. Just because it's not for geeks doesn't mean its bad. Perhaps it means its for people who think about things besides technology.

RE: Why is this creepy?
mikecane @ 8/3/2009 2:55:03 PM # Q
The testimony of someone who just joined PIC *today* to post *that = astroturf.

Go touch his monkey.

RE: Why is this creepy?
SeldomVisitor @ 8/3/2009 3:27:08 PM # Q
I'd bet that most not-already-informed viewers of all those ads don't even remember the product being advertised 10 minutes later.

And the first N ads of the series didn't even mention the thing being advertised was a phone.

Fail.

RE: Why is this creepy?
vetdoctor @ 8/3/2009 4:47:01 PM # Q
*I* didn't find it creepy so I showed it to two 25 year old, female iPhone users and asked them to forget their devotion to the iphone for a minute and just tell me what they thought of the ad's. The black woman laughed outloud and asked what kinda *stuff* is that. The white woman stared and backed away saying, "Yes, that is very creepy".
In short, I had always believed that the world involved magic: now I thought that perhaps it involved a magician.
- Chesterton
RE: Why is this creepy?
Tuckermaclain @ 8/3/2009 7:09:24 PM # Q
I like the ads. To me it is the opposite of Billy Mays where he's trying to ram the stuff down your throat. I find it refreshing and easy to watch over and over.
RE: Why is this creepy?
abosco @ 8/3/2009 8:22:43 PM # M Q
That's not a good thing. Oxy Clean and Orange Glow are in a whole heck of a lot of American homes. If you want to be on the opposite side of Billy Mays, you're also on the opposite side of profit.
RE: Why is this creepy?
jca666us @ 8/4/2009 12:04:25 AM # Q
I like that; has a nice ring to it:

"Palm Pre: the opposite side of profit"

RE: Why is this creepy?
SeldomVisitor @ 8/4/2009 2:59:38 AM # Q
Didn't someone mention ShamWow around here?

Talk about a successful ad series...

RE: Why is this creepy?
loftwyr @ 8/4/2009 6:43:25 AM # Q
Yes, I joined to post that because I was tired of hearing you people complain. I don't work for Palm or any of it's agencies, I just can't stand when geeks cry about ads that don't have blue flashing lights in them.
RE: Why is this creepy?
nastebu @ 8/4/2009 8:15:13 AM # Q
"tired of hearing you people complain"? You're a lurker on an internet site. If you're tired of that site, leave.
RE: Why is this creepy?
DarthRepublican @ 8/4/2009 9:25:23 AM # Q
I guess you're only allowed to comment if you've been on this site for years and years and years....Well, I've been on this site for years and while I don't love the ads (they're a mixed bag at best but certainly not as bad as the haters here would have you believe), I certainly understand the newbie's annoyance at the consistently negative tone on this site. And no, I won't leave. This site is still a good resource for news, information, and opinion even if a lot of the comment thread degenerate into rubbish and name calling. (Hey, that happens on 90% of the Internet.)

But that doesn't mean I have to like every single comment made on it. I certainly don't have like it when users universally bash everything Palm has ever does and characterize themselves as the "Palm Faithful" as if only their opinion counts. I don't have to like it when some users constantly spread FUD and spin every piece of news negatively. I don't like it when supposedly grown men and women squabble among themselves like six year olds. And I certainly don't have to like the broken records who've been chanting that Palm is six months away from bankruptcy for almost ten years.

As far as I know, the only person around here who actually owns PIC is Ryan and only he has the right to kick people out....
Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX->Palm Pre
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1->Palm Pre
http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/

RE: Why is this creepy?
bhartman34 @ 8/4/2009 10:10:25 AM # Q
loftwyr wrote:
Fine, it doesn't talk to 500 year old palm pro users. Who cares? It's a great ad that has you talking about it. Just because it's not for geeks doesn't mean its bad. Perhaps it means its for people who think about things besides technology.

I have nothing against non-tech users. By some metrics, I'm a non-tech user myself. But here's the problem, as I see it:

If someone's going to invest $200 in a phone (after rebate, or outright, from Best Buy), they want to know what a phone can do. The people looking for chic, "cool" phones almost certainly already have an iPhone, or wouldn't consider buying anything else. So that means that the remaining smartphone companies (mostly RIM and Palm) have to compete on features. Oblique allusions to reincarnation as a way to talk about the Synergy function in calendars aren't going to get Palm to that point.

Now, if I didn't own a Pre (or any other Palm product) I wouldn't care. But because I do, it matters. It matters because a year down the road, I'd like to know that there are accessories, support, and a possible upgrade path for the Pre. If the ad campaign doesn't sell it, and Palm folds, there won't be any of those things. So Palm's ability to put out good ads is going to directly impact how useful the Pre is in the future.

That's why the ad campaign matters, and why those of us who already have the Pre (generally) don't like the campaign: A campaign shouldn't be about the artistic sensibilities of the person putting it out. The purpose of a campaign is to sell the product to the people most likely to buy it. If 1 out of 5 people who see the ads think they're great, I have no beef with them. I'm happy for them that they like it. But the purpose of a campaign is to appeal to most of the people who watch it, not just a select few who "get it".

You might like Denis Leary, but you wouldn't use him to sell feminine hygiene products.

RE: Why is this creepy?
Tuckermaclain @ 8/4/2009 7:10:12 PM # Q
WELCOME NEWBIE LOFTWYR! This site needs new blood. New opinions are welcomed except by Mike Cane and The Voice of He Who Shall Not be Mentioned. I have been here since the Vx was introduced, but only registered when we could no longer post anonymously.

Having said that, Billie Mays is a carnival hawker and if you like that, great. I like the Palm ads with the new Mona Lisa. It's not bad by any measure.

RE: Why is this creepy?
bhartman34 @ 8/5/2009 5:49:46 AM # Q
Having said that, Billie Mays is a carnival hawker and if you like that, great. I like the Palm ads with the new Mona Lisa. It's not bad by any measure.

I agree that Billy Mays wouldn't've been a good spokesperson for Palm. Personally, I like the ads he's done, and I thought he never took himself too seriously. But you can't sell technology products the same way you sell cleaners or putty.

RE: Why is this creepy?
abosco @ 8/5/2009 1:03:12 PM # M Q
You can't sell smartphones the same way you sell Prozac.
Reply to this comment

I don't get it

sford @ 8/3/2009 9:40:41 PM # Q
Are you guys talking about the commercial with the performers dressed in orange surrounding the woman on the rock?

If so, what's "creepy" about it? Confusing? Maybe a little. But creepy? I don't get it.
Since 1996: Pilot Pro, III, IIIe, Nino (yeah...oops!), IIIc, VIIx, m505, NR70V, NZ90, NX60, T3, Zire 72s, NX80V, Treo 90, Treo 650

RE: I don't get it
SeldomVisitor @ 8/4/2009 3:33:11 AM # Q
That ad was merely useless, though fun to watch. The creepiness (though I didn't find them so myself) came with the talking head followon ads as pictured at the top of this article.

What =I= found wrong with the ads, especially now due to the release order, was that there is NO IDEA what is being advertised. Forgive my memory about the order but, to the person who has NO CLUE about the Pre, the first ad looks like one for a GPS, even to the point of mentioning driving. The second ad looks like some sort of personal organizer, though whatever is being displayed is a not-very-exciting SOMETHING. The third ad said something about juggling and again showed SOMETHING, not sure what. And the fourth ad was simply ... strange... (and an apparent put-down of older males) but at LEAST mentioned that what was being advertised was a phone for the first time!

I should note that, with a few/couple of the ads, due to the actress' talking/swallowing style (!) I was reminded WHILE THE AD WAS PLAYING CAUSING A MIND WANDER that I'd seen that same type of neck muscle/tendon movement from someone who had to burp to speak, having lost his vocal cords!

Now THAT'S creepy!

Lol!


RE: I don't get it
LiveFaith @ 8/4/2009 8:25:45 AM # M Q
SV, that was a little more information than I needed. :-o
RE: I don't get it
SeldomVisitor @ 8/4/2009 9:07:05 AM # Q
Nah, that's reality - it really REALLY is what I thought of while watching "her" interesting way of talking.

Reply to this comment

creepy == news

hotpaw4 @ 8/3/2009 10:40:09 PM # Q
It seems to be another variant on those obnoxious soap ads, the theme being it doesn't matter how bad the press is as long as they spell your name correctly.


Reply to this comment

Did he work in Japan?

CFreymarc @ 8/4/2009 1:24:57 AM # Q
Mr. Koepke, how much experience do you have in the Japanese ad market? There is so much media saturation in that part of the world, that about the only way to have your product stand out is to be as strange, unusual or flat our contrasting from the rest of the crowd.

With all the high tech, neon and chrome we see in tech promotions these days, your Renaissance / Earth Tone color scheme is about as contrasting as it gets to the regular market. Is that what you were going after?

In America, over-contrast can backfire to just turning off a good amount of the buying public. The quarterly sales at the end of this year will tell.

Reply to this comment

The spoofs are gettingbetter

SeldomVisitor @ 8/5/2009 1:21:13 PM # Q
RE: The spoofs are gettingbetter
DarthRepublican @ 8/10/2009 7:40:44 PM # Q
Attack of the Show's Spoof is still the best:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0qQURy6JG8

http://g4tv.com/attackoftheshow/comedy/67984/Kevin-Pereira-Exorcises-The-Palm-Pre.html
Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX->Palm Pre
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1->Palm Pre
http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/

RE: The spoofs are gettingbetter
freakout @ 8/10/2009 7:49:49 PM # Q
RE: The spoofs are gettingbetter
jca666us @ 8/16/2009 6:56:47 AM # Q
Freak,

If they gave a lobotomy with each Palm Pre purchased, you should definitely purchase a few!


Reply to this comment

The ad agency apparently got the smack-upside-the-head hint

SeldomVisitor @ 8/15/2009 5:09:49 PM # Q
RE: The ad agency apparently got the smack-upside-the-head hint
jca666us @ 8/15/2009 6:33:29 PM # Q
About time - too little too late though.
Reply to this comment

You wanted the ads to be more iPhone like? Bell's happy to oblige

freakout @ 8/21/2009 12:14:42 AM # Q
Oh boy. Talk about deja vu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdXRS5mCsLQ

RE: You wanted the ads to be more iPhone like? Bell's happy to oblige
SeldomVisitor @ 8/21/2009 3:37:57 AM # Q
RE: You wanted the ads to be more iPhone like? Bell's happy to ob
jca666us @ 8/21/2009 5:55:01 AM # M Q
iclone??
Reply to this comment
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