Palm’s global campaign to make audience wise to Smartphone

Palm Inc. launches a $25 million worldwide marketing campaign today for its Treo Smartphone.

The goal is to expand the market for the office management device by generating mainstream awareness of its multimedia and communication features. The six-month campaign encompasses print, out of home, online, mobile and viral marketing components, all with the tagline, “Not just a cell phone. A Treo.”

“Our target is what we call ‘mobile accomplishers,'” said Scott Hancock, director of marketing communications at Palm, Sunnyvale, CA. “It’s about the folks that lead busy lives, not just business executives.”

Released last month, the Palm Treo 680 smart device is also one of the company’s most affordable models at $199.99, a price expected to attract a wider audience for the phone.

Like other Treo models, it lets users access e-mail, edit documents and organize photos and music from anywhere with a wireless connection.

New features include an internal antenna, allowing a sleeker design; a faster-dialing capability; the ability to ignore calls but respond with a text message; and threading within its messaging application, linking related text-messaging conversations.

The Treo 680 smart device also can be used as an MP3 player and has an integrated digital camera, camcorder and video player, with simpler organization for photos and photo slideshows.

The campaign centers on the device’s capabilities, highlighting what the company calls passion brands, or Web sites that have loyal followers, such as Google Maps, news satire site The Onion and online movie ticket agent Fandango.

“We’re trying to simply demonstrate that whatever you’re into, you can still do those things away from your computer,” Mr. Hancock said.

A microsite at features an animated Flash digital demonstration of the Treo. Mr. Hancock said that online advertising was particularly important to Palm, and that value is reflected in a greater percentage of online advertising spending as compared with competitors.

“Our audience is online,” he said. “We value the eyeball that we get at those sites and use the medium to generate buzz.”

The campaign also features physical demonstrations of the device. Street teams in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington and Austin, TX, will wear brightly colored clothing that says “Whatever. Just Ask” and show off the device’s features.

One unusual element to the campaign is the presence of poster-sized outdoor kiosks in New York, San Francisco and Pasadena, CA. They will be live for two months and let people select and view category-specific content on a SMS-enabled screen.

“We can spout specs and features but that is not what sells,” Mr. Hancock said. “Once someone gets their hands on our devices and sees just how easy it is, we’re convinced they’ll like it.”

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