Below, you’ll find the latest television ad for the Palm Pre. It’s simply shot, backed by soothing music, and consistent with Palm’s other Beijing-opening-ceremony style ad from June. It’s also bizarrely, pervasively creepy. What’s going on here?
(For reference, here is the first ad in the series, released in early June.)
There are a few obvious grievances: we don’t know this woman, so when she talks at us in a one-on-one encounter through our TV, it’s a little like being accosted by the too-social crazy lady in the waiting room at the dentist. For another, we approach her from the back, which makes it feel as if we’re somehow sneaking up on her and invading her privacy. It doesn’t help that she appears to be either a) naked at first glance or b) wearing a nightgown.
Then there’s the actual message, something that probably has the ears of many a smartphone user steaming: this lady is telling us that her definition of a “good day” is when everything just works. Well, shouldn’t we expect at least that much from our nerd arsenal? For $200 and a two-year shackling, I don’t want “just works,” and I don’t want the luck of the green lights. I want “changes the way I work.” I want all the amazing productive things that we’ve come to expect from iPhones and Blackberrys, which “just work” every day. That’s not to say that the Palm Pre is an inferior device, but if “just working” is its biggest advantage, it’s not outplaying the competition.
Perhaps the most unnerving thing about this ad is the feeling it tries to achieve: soft lighting, soft music, a halcyon few minutes spent with a Pre. That kind of visual pharmaceutical is what we came to expect from Microsoft’s advertising people a few years ago, when they were trying to dope us into believing that Vista worked. Palm: we won’t be fooled again. (One such Microsoft ad, below.)