When the Palm Pre made it’s television debut last year, its ads were met with an overwhelmingly negative perception. I think we can all agree the ads were creepy, Palm’s message was lost, and the device took a back seat to a bizarre Tamara Hope. When the less powerful Pixi took the stage, it gave us a sense that Palm can effectively advertise and not all hope was lost. Fast forward to early February where the Pre gets a shot at ad redemption, only to fall flat on its face.
The advertisement itself isn’t really the problem so much as the marketing strategy behind the Pre. The first two and, as it stands, the only two ads Verizon aired position the Pre as a device for your mother. There’s no mistaking, Verizon sees the Palm Pre as phone for women. Herein lies the problem. When they position a device so boldly towards 50% of the population, they’re losing out on the other 50% that might actually be interested in checking one out. With a device so unique and with so much potential, you want to send a message that says, “hey, this phone is for everyone.”
This isn’t the first time Verizon’s been down this road. The Motorola Droid was marketed as the manliest phone you can buy. In their words, “Should it be a tiara-wearing, digitally clueless beauty pageant queen? It’s not a princess, it’s a robot.” I know there are women somewhere in the world who own and love their Droid, but I’d bet a slim minority found that ad effective in any way. It can’t be that hard to create an ad that reaches everyone without distancing itself from half the population.
And so the Palm Pre earns its second strike in advertising. Hopefully, third time’s the charm. Is Verizon’s strategy with the Pre an effective one? Share your thoughts in the comments.