There’ve been a few criticism’s tossed at RIM over the years, sure. One of the biggest gripes appears to be RIM’s presence, or lack there of (hello, cliche) in the advertising world. And you know what? For the past few years, that’s been an alright thing. RIM and their BlackBerry devices have been doing well over the years, obtaining over 6 million subscribers – SIX MILLION – without a really solid ad campaign behind them.
With the Motorola Q, Samsung BlackJack, sure we’ll include the Treo, and now the iPhone, competition has never made their presence felt more. It might be time for a little whoring, RIM. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.
As much as I hate to do it, we need to start at the beginning here. The very beginning. Even though Mrs. Lazaridis said she was tired, Mr. Lazaridis paid no heed– ok, maybe not that far back. The whole RIM/BlackBerry escapade began when RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis had more ideas than grey hairs. Jim Balsillie, the other CEO, eventually signed on and sometime in 1998, I’d presume, the company had a new device ready to be released into the wild. One thing, though, it needed a name.
Advertising, marketing, and branding-type agencies exist for a few reasons, one being for when companies can’t think of any better ideas. RIM enlisted Lexicon Branding Inc., the folks behind the “Pentium” and “PowerBook” names, to come up with a name for this crazy emailing business tool that they had on their hands. RIM knew that they had to come out of the gates strong, and contacting a team like that of Lexicon was a brilliant move. If you want the full story for the naming, hit Wikipedia, but the gist is, they ended up naming the device the “BlackBerry” (really?).
I know the lot of you have no idea where I’m headed with this, but bare with me. If RIM knew that they had to start strong and were willing to invest the coin in Lexicon, why not continue the trend when they realize that ‘hey, maybe now’s the time for a little advertising?’ with the growing media presence of the BlackJack and Q. Why aren’t we seeing brilliant BlackBerry advertising? Why aren’t RIM putting up a fight?
Well, truth is that they are putting up a fight, just a really, really weak one. A lot of the marketing seems to have been delegated down to the carriers and retailers. Think of this process as that “telephone” game that kid’s play where a phrase has to pass through a line of kids, hopefully remaining the same throughout. Without fail, the message gets jumbled and confused and what started off as “The BlackBerry is so amazing” quickly turns into “My Dad Barry likes ginseng”. See my point? Fine. The point is that nobody knows the BlackBerry like RIM does, so they should be the ones at the forefront of the ad campaign, not T-Mobile or Cingular – who produced this piece of tripe:
Really clever, guys.