Handspring's Visor gets first Leo Burnett effort

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Handspring puts its Visor handheld organizer front and center in an estimated $20 million ad campaign that debuts June 15.

The effort, from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, Handspring's new agency of record, positions the device -- based on the popular Palm operating system -- as a versatile tool for work and life (AA, May 15).

The Visor offers standard organizer functions and add-on modules that enable the device as a modem and let buyers play games and get backup storage. Other modules turn it into a digital camera and MP3 digital music player. Content modules also are planned.

"Our vision is that people will be able to connect to the Internet anywhere to manage their lives," said Claire Dean, VP-marketing communications at Handspring.

Handspring's target? "Up-and-comers," Ms. Dean said, or people ages 35 to 55 who are "active professionals." That target is evolving to include working parents to whom organization is paramount.

The effort will ramp up slowly in outdoor and print media -- as many as three outdoor executions will debut in New York before they are extended nationally in the fourth quarter. Print starts in July business and inflight publications before cutting a wider swath in more mainstream, general interest and entertainment magazines. Online ads will reach major portals such as Yahoo!

"The idea is to get out into the street, to be in the culture of the consumer," Ms. Dean said.

The agency's creative approach is clean and spare The Visor itself is hero, and the main visual is the word "Visor" with the letters "is" in contrasting colors. Executions feature the words "Visor is" with successive copy: "Visor is a digital camera," "Visor is an address book" and "Visor is a voice recorder," for example, to highlight the device's varied functions.


A product shot features the Visor in five colors: blue, green, graphite, ice and orange. Headlines include "Visor is whatever the heck you want it to be" to highlight multiple functions.

"This is really, clearly our brand personality, our look and feel," Ms. Dean said of the campaign, noting Handspring's brand attributes -- "smart, fun, innovative, approachable and compelling."

Butler, Shine & Stern, Sausalito, Calif., was Handspring's first agency and created the company's launch image. The company filed for an initial public offering March 31.

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