BlackBerry competitor Palm has just embarked on a six-month, $25 million advertising campaign that launched this week for the Treo 680.
AKQA developed the Treo 680 campaign, which incorporates a media mix of print, out-of-home, online, mobile and viral advertising. This includes a Palm street team in major metropolitan markets to show passersby how to use the Treo 680 to check their eBay accounts, order movie tickets or make dinner reservations.
As many problems as Palm is having and as much as the Treo 680 may suck compared to the BlackBerry Pearl, this is an incredibly smart move and Research in Motion would do well to take a page out of Palm’s marketing book.
Palm is attempting to win this battle the only place they can… New consumers looking at their first smartphone. The problem for RIM is that even though everyone has heard of the BlackBerry, it is viewed almost exclusively as a business device.
Even the BlackBerry Pearl, a huge success for RIM, is being adopted primarily by existing BlackBerry users looking to upgrade. Many consumers just don’t know much about the BlackBerry Pearl. Although RIM is doing a bit of on the street marketing, they seem to be relying on their complete dominance in the business world hoping it will spill over into the consumer world.
Hopefully RIM will figure out that in the world of the everyday consumer, simply being the best device doesn’t guarantee you anything. Perception, buzz, cool factor, and awareness is where the consumer smartphone battle will be won.
Don’t get me wrong, you cannot get by on great marketing and a piece of crap device, however, you definitely don’t have to be the best device if you are good enough and perceived as being “Cool as $#!+”.