Direct Line Blog

Palm chases word-of-mouth from Stern

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It's been reported that the mobile phone manufacturer Palm is actively courting word-of-mouth marketing by giving its new Pre handset to radio personality Howard Stern.

From the ZDNet blog:
Stern is in the market for a phone and has been a loyal Treo user. He still has a Treo, but is embarrassed to show it given the technology is so old. In other words, Stern is the perfect Palm customer. He’s been fiercely loyal, but has nothing new to get excited about until now.

Celebrity spokespeople are nothing new, but this case is interesting because it's not quite the same. Rather than Stern being paid to extol the virtues of the handset, Palm is looking for authenticity — they WANT him to really like the phone. It's a risk in a way, because if he doesn't, they could lose a lot of credibility and the word-of-mouth will go sour. But on the other hand, if he does genuinely like the phone and becomes a fan of it, that organic recommendation will go a long way for Palm's customers.
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