Palm: a victim of bad ads or a bad product?

With Palm reportedly shopping around for a new agency, the obvious assumption is that the client was unimpressed with Modernista!'s surreal campaign starring an ethereal ingenue on a hill. But allow me to go out on a limb here and say this: It isn't the agency's fault. Love them or hate them, you can't deny the ads were memorable, unique, hypnotic and buzzworthy. This isn't a case of a failed ad campaign. It's a case of a failed product. For three years, the telecom world struggled to find a device that could dethrone Apple's juggernaut iPhone, and the Palm Pre simply wasn't it. There's no shame in that. The same fate befell the BlackBerry Storm, the Samsung BlackJack, the Nokia N-series and dozens more. Where all these failed, Motorola's Droid has largely succeeded, thanks to both its technical sophistication and its staggering $100 million marketing budget (versus Palm's $35 million). So, while I'm not privy to all of Palm's reasoning for its review, I'll be disappointed if history remembers this as a case of a bad campaign instead of one that faced the ultimate obstacle: a product most people simply didn't want.

—Posted by David Griner