AKQA, Lot21 Launch Palm i705 on Internet Only

Using the ex pertise of two agencies, Palm is launching its latest handheld device entirely online—the first time it has done so for a major new product.

San Francisco shops AKQA and Lot21, which was acquired last month by Carat Interactive in Boston, are working in tandem to introduce the Palm i705. Both have worked with the client for the past few years. The new online effort is slated to run until mid-March.

Jennifer Michalek, account director at AKQA, said the campaign is Internet-only because the people most likely to buy the i705 are frequent Web users. “That’s where the low-hanging fruit is,” she said.

David Westendorf, director of wireless-services marketing at Palm, also noted financial considerations. “Going out with a mass-media type of approach was not the best means of spending our money,” he said.

Palm’s media expenditures were $10 million for the first 10 months of 2001, per CMR. Last November, the client launched a $10 million TV push from AKQA for the holidays. A budget for the new product launch was not disclosed.

AKQA developed the traditional online components, including banners across sites in six categories: technology, news, commerce, travel, business and finance.

The ads showcase the product and drive traffic to a microsite, www.palm.com, where consumers can interact with a product demo, also created by AKQA.

A direct marketing aspect was developed by Lot21, using resources of Carat Interactive. It also sends users to the microsite. An e-mail featuring an image of the device was sent to registered Palm owners in Carat Interactive’s database and to people who clicked on teasers on sites like Cnet, Tech TV and Tucows.com. Carat is also handling online audience tracking.

Barry Peters, director of relationship marketing and emerging media for Carat Interactive, said his agency rented and bought additional e-mail lists to better target the “fanatical [Palm] user base.”

The Palm i705 retails for $449 and has several new offerings, including instant notification of e-mail arrival and AOL instant messenger capabilities. Palm is based in Santa Clara, Calif.