We were pretty clear in sharing our feelings where Palm’s Pre commercials are concerned but just in case our headline wasn’t clear enough for you, we don’t like them. In a nutshell, they make us want to curl up in a corner and cry, not run out and buy a Pre. Gary Koepke is the co-founder of Modernista, the agency behind the ads, and he recently defended his work in an interview with AdAge:
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. 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.
It’s a very different look and feel for this sector. 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?
Fair enough, sir, but allow us to reiterate our stance in the context of the second portion of the quote above. Putting our “Joe Consumer” hat on for a moment, when we see an iPhone ad on TV, we walk away thinking ‘cool, the iPhone can do tons of great stuff because it has so many sweet apps’. When we see a BlackBerry commercial (aside from the horrible U2 spot), we walk away thinking ‘ok, BlackBerry rocks the business world but it can hang in the consumer market, too. It does it all’. When we see a Pre commercial, we walk away thinking ‘crack’.
But let’s face it — money talks. Television advertising exists to drive sales and if Pre sales to date were anything to write home about, Sprint and Palm would have thrown out some numbers by now. With the top two smartphone brands in the US doing gangbusters — BlackBerrys are still burning up the market and Apple hawked over 5 million iPhones last quarter — it’s no wonder they’re keeping quiet.