The New Normal


When I started out in PR the internet was still special. There was a sense of wonder in the power that it provided to you. Email was over used to send jokes and video clips because you could. Now its the workaday, people who don’t have an email address are the underclass or trying too hard to make a statement. My email account vomits untargeted marketing related mail just like the letter box in my front door and most of the useful content has a price on its head just like at WH Smith.

 

Using a Hotmail account as your contact details is like buying your groceries with welfare stamps, one step up from not existing at all. People whom you can’t google (find using the Google search engine) either have a common-as-muck name, or have been doing an eight-year stretch for possession with intent to supply or armed robbery.

Wired the media pimp of the internet for so long announced on Monday, an important change to its style guide the words net, internet and web would no longer be capitalised. Online had lost its last remaining claim to be special. Its no longer new media, but treated with familarity more like a well-read and dog-eared book.

In reality Wired has given up to what many of us have thought and felt for the past three years. The full article can be read here.

On a another related theme, during the dot.com boom I worked on the Palm (PalmOne) pan european PR account, one of the more hair-brained schemes cooked up by the executive team in the States was selling ‘special edition’ blue Palm Vx devices through Claudia Schiffer’s website claudiaschiffer.com. Whilst the site, was up there for an indecently long time, I see that this ghost in my cupboard has now been buried with a holding page from the design company entitled ‘gone fishing’. Here’s a link to the site on Archive.org’s Way Back Machine to an archived version of the site.

The Schiffer device was launched at a Red Herring conference in the US, crueller wags at the time alleged that during the launch one of the Palm executives spent an inordinate amount of time looking at Ms Schiffer’s chest and fluffed his lines. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know the truth of the story.

 

There was also talk of a deal with Michael Jordan along similar lines for the Palm m100 device (known to us at the time as Kelvin) as well, we did some preliminary thinking about this, but it never came to fruition on my shift.

The original press release text is below:

High tech icon Palm and fashion icon Claudia Schiffer to create new world of “chic tech”; Leaders of tech and fashion create designer Palm handheldLos Angeles – August 4th, 2000: Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM), the pioneer and leader of handheld computing; Claudia Schiffer, model, actress and entrepreneur; and PTN Media (OTCBB: PTNM), today announced a collaboration to design and market the Palm Vx Claudia Schiffer Edition handheld computer. A prototype of the elegant, brushed metallic-aqua Claudia Schiffer Edition handheld was unveiled today at the Red Herring “Herring on Hollywood” Conference in Los Angeles.

On her latest entrepreneurial effort, Schiffer said she had been exploring the technology industry for some time but had been waiting for the right opportunity. “Palm is a company I admire for its devotion to making sophisticated technology simple and accessible to everyone,” said Schiffer.

She added, “I am excited to be working with Palm to bring fashion to technology and extend its reach to the wider population.” A highly mobile professional who constantly juggles a time-constrained schedule, Schiffer exemplifies the increased efficiencies that can be gained from using a Palm handheld.

The Palm Vx Claudia Schiffer Edition, based on the marriage of product functionality with fusion of bold colour and style, catapults Schiffer’s image to a symbol of “chic tech” and enables Palm to broaden its addressable market and maintain its leadership position in the high-growth mobile market.

“Our goal is to become as essential in pop culture as we are in tech culture,” said Satjiv Chahil, chief marketing officer, Palm, Inc. “We are delighted that as an avid Palm user, the multi-talented Claudia Schiffer recognises the opportunity to market an elegant, powerful and simple-to-use technology to the fashion-conscious public.”

Schiffer has global appeal across a broad market demographic. Her name has been associated with the leading brands in fashion for nearly a decade, and she has appeared on thousands of magazine covers worldwide. “We expect the Claudia Edition will be the product that women around the world will find to be an essential item to manage their increasingly busy lives,” predicts Peter Klamka, president of PTN Media, which is owned in part by Schiffer.

Tony Perkins, founder and chairman of the prestigious Silicon Valley Magazine The Red Herring, lauded the announcement saying, “This marks the beginning of a new trend where technology is no longer the domain of the techno-elite and business professionals, but a lifestyle choice and fashion statement.”

The Palm Vx handheld is ultra-slim, ultra-light and holds thousands of names, addresses, phone numbers, appointments, to do’s, and e-mail messages. It has 8 MB of memory and synchronises and backs up data with a PC or Macintosh at the touch of a button. There are several add-on accessories available for the Palm Vx that enable wireless connectivity and Internet access. Schiffer is personally selecting her favourite add-on software applications to include on a CD that customers can use to install the programs on their Palm Vx Claudia Schiffer Edition handheld.

The Palm Vx Claudia Schiffer Edition will be available exclusively online Autumn 2000 at www.claudiaschiffer.com.

About Palm, Inc.

Palm, Inc. is the leading provider of handheld computers (IDC personal companion devices category, 1999), including the Palm III, V and VII series of handheld computers. The Palm OS platform is the foundation for the market-leading handheld computers from the company as well as products from its strategic partners such as IBM, QUALCOMM, Franklin Covey, Handspring and Symbol Technologies. Designed to support the increasingly mobile and geographically dispersed nature of information management, the company’s handheld solutions allow people to carry their most critical information in their pockets. For more information, please visit www.palm.com

About Claudia Schiffer

Claudia Schiffer is one of the most recognised women in the world. She has been called “the most beautiful woman in the world” by GQ magazine and countless others. Her name has been associated with the leading brands in fashion for almost a decade, and she has appeared on thousands of magazine covers worldwide, earning the Guinness World Record for the most magazine covers. In 1999, Schiffer earned US $9 million and made the Forbes Power 100 in Hollywood.

Schiffer currently does business on every major continent through modelling and endorsements, including her ongoing role as international spokesperson for L’Oreal Cosmetics. Film credits include Black & White, Friends & Lovers, and The Blackout. She recently finished starring in the short film Meeting Genevieve, directed by Luis Mandoki, and she is currently completing an untitled BBC film with director Nicolas Roeg.

Schiffer is also a National Ambassador for UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund).

About Claudiaschiffer.com

ClaudiaSchiffer.com, which is being launched by PTN Media, is designed to be a destination site for fashion, style and beauty news and commerce. In addition to regular reports from Schiffer herself, the audience will have access to all of the latest information on trends, cool stores, and all things fashionable.

CONTACT: Ged Carroll

Tel: +44 (0)207 544 3193

e-mail: gcarroll@webergroup.co.uk

Paul Rogers

Tel: +44 (0)207 544 3164

e-mail: progers@webergroup.co.uk