Monday, August 3, 2009

Did you ever have one of those days?

Jason Lackey

Ads and marketing can do powerful things in terms of building and shaping a brand and can either contribute to building something of value or get in the way. To be certain, Infiniti has earned respect by building good cars for a number of years. Then again, they had to as the launch of the Q45 (think Cedric for you JDM types) in the US was held back by the ads, which were viewed by some as being zen and forward looking while many had trouble understanding why a car company was showing them pictures of rocks and trees.

Apple has a way of getting things right, both with product and with the branding around the product. Then again, they have passionate people who are fanatic about the customer experience from ad, through the unboxing until product end of life and these people pay attention to the whole thing from end to end. Speaking of Apple, remember the Ellen Feiss Switch Ad? Classic! Well, her long lost twin was recently found in Santa Cruz at a City Council meeting!

Palm, recently risen from it's deathbed with a technically stellar OS (WebOS) on merely adequate hardware (Palm Pre) is in a bit of a bind. While many have fond memories of Palm and wish them great success, they really need to be firing on all cylinders and they don't have the burn time to buy a lot of do-overs. In this context you might expect them to do a nice series of ads highlighting the technical argument in favor of the Pre, perhaps hammering on multitasking or the cool apps you can run etc. Oh, wait, Sprint already did that. They even did one based on the price of the service plan for the phone, one of biggests chinks in the iPhone armor.
Palm, in contrast, did some really weird art pieces with Tamara Hope, who in these ads looks like the long lost sister of the Borg Queen. Nothing wrong with weird - if it connects. Nothing wrong with art, if it works. Seems that in this case the pieces, for most, do neither, and it is a shame, because Palm as a great new OS of which we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. However, they are running the risk of alienating exactly the consumers they should be appealing to and damaging a brand which deserves some polish.

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