Palm Touting Centro As Part Of Everyday Text Messaging

Palm plans to sink between $6 million and $10 million into a marketing and advertising campaign to promote the Centro, the handset maker's latest smartphone that retails for less than $100.

The ads are scheduled to begin Monday, and will run through March/April. The campaign marks the second wave of Palm's "It's a Palm Thing" campaign, which began in September. It focuses on the Centro smartphone as a social networking tool for 25- to-34-year-olds.

The Centro moves Palm from a company focused solely on serving business professionals into a market segment full of young, tech-savvy consumers who make IMing and text messaging a part of everyday life. San Francisco-based marketing and communications firm Y&R designed the campaign.

Print publications provide the opportunity for a cross-platform online campaign in Wired, Marie Claire, and Entertainment Weekly. Consumers can expect to see outdoor spreads throughout key markets in malls and high-traffic locations. The ads involve digital, too--including mobile marketing, online, roadblocks, and viral campaigns in social networking sites MySpace, Facebook and Flickr.



Scott Hancock, Palm's director of marketing communications, says Flickr will help Palm create a community page that allows Centro owners to shoot and upload photos to share. "We're still working out the details," he says. "If you have a Treo or a Centro device you'll be able to snap pictures and upload them to the page. Flickr will promote the service throughout their site."

The highlight of the campaign, however, is a set of online ads created with computer-generated, three-dimensional-motion computer graphics. In the ad titled "Socializing," a text message sent to Jen tells her about 80s night at a local dance club. The Centro phone casing opens in half to reveal people dancing, rather than semiconductors and electronic circuitry.

Y&R designers created brilliant sights, sounds and imagery that come to life in the bottom half shell of the phone. The marketing firm modeled and orchestrated the movements with computer-generated software tools to demonstrate the Centro as the hub of social activity, explains Penny Baldwin, Y&R president/CEO.

Motion graphics and photography/video are combined to create scenes filled with people dancing, playing soccer, and a café full of activity. The results portray a dynamic social environment, filled with life and action.

The technology provides the consumer with an interactive experience that requires Y&R to continually monitor media consumption patterns, Baldwin says, changing the buy on the fly.

"We track the traffic daily and shift the money to those sites that solicit the most participating and page views," she says. "The combination of tracking and reporting software allows us to report on the effectiveness of campaigns."

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