The first week in June was huge for techies and Smartphone lovers, as two of the most highly anticipated launches promised both fierce competition and delight for users. On Saturday, June 6th, Sprint users lined up for the Palm Pre Smartphone. In the 1990s, Palm led the way with handheld computers and made headlines with the Palm Treo, but recently Palm has been overshadowed by Apple’s iPhone and Research In Motion’s (RIM) Blackberry. Palm hopes the launch of the Pre will help reestablish brand relevance. Just two days after the release of the Pre, Apple unveiled the iPhone 3GS, which becomes available June 19. Palm and Apple are both sure to advertise heavily, but are embarking upon two different strategies.
BREAKDOWN: Palm Pre vs. Apple iPhone 3GS
Palm Pre and the iPhone 3GS have been trending topics on Twitter for the several weeks. Palm was quick to use social media in its marketing campaign, launching the Pre on Facebook. The visually stimulating, 60-second ad, shot in China with a Zen-like theme, plays on viewer emotions and demonstrates how the phone can manage the user’s life with ease using the breezy, glide-touch screen.
Ad executives unofficially estimated that Palm spent $50 to $75 million on its ad campaign, but are also relying on the buzz created on social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, to amplify the chatter about the product. Sprint (Pre’s carrier) has even plugged Twitter into their “Now Network” campaign, hoping to appeal to early adopters on social media sites.
Apple, already a dominant presence, holds 20% of the U.S. Smartphone market, second only to Research In Motion (RIM) which holds 55%. In 2008, Apple spent $486 million on advertising, and it’s safe to assume with the rise of the iPhone 3GS, 2009 will follow that trend. Apple hired movie director, David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) to direct the advertising for the 3GS, which takes center stage in the commercial, unlike the Pre in Palm’s spot. Currently, Apple does not maintain a presence on Twitter and its advertising far outshines their Facebook Page.
With society becoming more active in social media, but still engaged by traditional PR and advertising tactics, which launch to do you think will be more successful? Is it the campaign or the product that will win the day?