Palm Reaches Out to Shops

Palm has begun reaching out to agencies and is severing ties with Boston-based Modernista!, sources said.

The independent agency, reeling from key account defections of late (notably GM’s Cadillac and Hummer), last summer introduced high-profile spots for the Palm Pre smartphone that featured ethereal actress Tamara Hope. The campaign got much attention, but was generally panned as often as it was praised.

Neither client nor agency could immediately be reached for comment.

The client spent $35 million in measured media last year, almost doubling its 2008 outlay, per Nielsen.

Modernista! long handled Hummer for GM (the nameplate was spun off last year), and bid farewell to Cadillac as ’09 drew to a close, not participating in that brand’s review, which was won by New York’s Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

The agency employed about 100 staffers “including freelancers” in December, a rep said. That’s down from roughly 130 when Cadillac went into review two months earlier. Modernista! handles two other accounts of note: TIAA-Cref (which spends about $20 million annually) and the social-conscious Product (Red) initiative, for which figures were not available.