The BlackBerry advertising initiative

14 Comments

wheresrim.jpg

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.

mikebuilds.jpgAdvertising, 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:

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Really clever, guys.

  • http://www.rimarkable.com/ Robb (RIMarkable)

    Good Post Steve. I think that you are dead on with just about everything. I wouldn’t, however, downplay the power of a good SuperBowl commercial. A good spot with a strong message can “get into consumers homes and workplaces without them really knowing it” even though they know that they are watching a commercial.

    A Superbowl commercial isn’t just about the 30 to 60 second spots that you see during time-outs and at half time. It is about all the buzz generated the week leading up to and the few weeks after the spots air.

    Think of all the blogs, websites, news sources, etc. that could be talking about “the BlackBerry commercial” before and after the SuperBowl.

    Millions of Americans could be talking about how cool the BlackBerry was around the water cooler the Monday after the SuperBowl.

    As popular as the BlackBerry is and as strong as the BlackBerry brand is, RIM has a marketing problem when it comes to consumers. They don’t think of the BlackBerry as a cool mobile phone. A good commercial could literally change that perception overnight.

  • http://www.rimarkable.com Robb (RIMarkable)

    Good Post Steve. I think that you are dead on with just about everything. I wouldn’t, however, downplay the power of a good SuperBowl commercial. A good spot with a strong message can “get into consumers homes and workplaces without them really knowing it” even though they know that they are watching a commercial.

    A Superbowl commercial isn’t just about the 30 to 60 second spots that you see during time-outs and at half time. It is about all the buzz generated the week leading up to and the few weeks after the spots air.

    Think of all the blogs, websites, news sources, etc. that could be talking about “the BlackBerry commercial” before and after the SuperBowl.

    Millions of Americans could be talking about how cool the BlackBerry was around the water cooler the Monday after the SuperBowl.

    As popular as the BlackBerry is and as strong as the BlackBerry brand is, RIM has a marketing problem when it comes to consumers. They don’t think of the BlackBerry as a cool mobile phone. A good commercial could literally change that perception overnight.

  • Thought

    Great thoughts, Steve. I really like the idea of the guy in the glass enclosure in Times Square conducting business. Maybe they could get some crazy dude like David Blain to do that…he’s big into locking himself up in small enclosures in public view.

    However, like Robb, I do believe that a Super Bowl commercial is vastly different than a standard one. One good SB ad can define your whole corporate image. I still remember how monster.com, even as a new web startup, established itself solely by dedicating its entire budget to one SB ad. It was a roll of the dice that really paid off.

    Of course, one can name a slew of great ads that really enhanced the corp image of a number of large companies, whether it be the beer ads for Budweiser, or the iconic 1984 ad for Apple.

    As Robb notes, a good SB ad isn’t just aired the one or few times that the company pays for; it receives millions in free publicity through news outlets, etc.

    In short, an SB ad is not traditional marketing, even though its through a very traditional medium. Properly done, it is something quite unique, and that’s definitely what RIM needs. Now of course, I don’t expect RIM to do this…but I still think it’s an intriguing idea.

  • Thought

    Great thoughts, Steve. I really like the idea of the guy in the glass enclosure in Times Square conducting business. Maybe they could get some crazy dude like David Blain to do that…he’s big into locking himself up in small enclosures in public view.

    However, like Robb, I do believe that a Super Bowl commercial is vastly different than a standard one. One good SB ad can define your whole corporate image. I still remember how monster.com, even as a new web startup, established itself solely by dedicating its entire budget to one SB ad. It was a roll of the dice that really paid off.

    Of course, one can name a slew of great ads that really enhanced the corp image of a number of large companies, whether it be the beer ads for Budweiser, or the iconic 1984 ad for Apple.

    As Robb notes, a good SB ad isn’t just aired the one or few times that the company pays for; it receives millions in free publicity through news outlets, etc.

    In short, an SB ad is not traditional marketing, even though its through a very traditional medium. Properly done, it is something quite unique, and that’s definitely what RIM needs. Now of course, I don’t expect RIM to do this…but I still think it’s an intriguing idea.

  • Dan

    What do you think about the current advertising for BlackBerry?.. the one with the collage?

  • Dan

    What do you think about the current advertising for BlackBerry?.. the one with the collage?

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ Simon Sage

    Certainly a step in the right direction, Dan. The BlackBerry Bold really kicked off a much more visible marketing campaign that I think will last so long as the likes of the iPhone are competing.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com Simon Sage

    Certainly a step in the right direction, Dan. The BlackBerry Bold really kicked off a much more visible marketing campaign that I think will last so long as the likes of the iPhone are competing.

  • mike

    what about making an urban commericial with some one saying, “The blacker the berry (Blackberry in hand), the sweeter the juice” lol they’ll laugh and relate..then buy it..trust me

  • mike

    what about making an urban commericial with some one saying, “The blacker the berry (Blackberry in hand), the sweeter the juice” lol they’ll laugh and relate..then buy it..trust me

  • http://www.greenpepper.in/ Krishna Kumar

    Blackberry's new ad – “Do what you love; love what you do”! 3 years back, GreenPepper designed catch line 'Do what you enjoy, enjoy what you do' and trademarked it. Did they lift from us?

  • http://www.greenpepper.in/ Krishna Kumar

    Blackberry's new ad – “Do what you love; love what you do”! 3 years back, GreenPepper designed catch line 'Do what you enjoy, enjoy what you do' and trademarked it. Did they lift from us?

  • http://www.greenpepper.in/ Krishna Kumar

    Blackberry's new ad – “Do what you love; love what you do”! 3 years back, GreenPepper designed catch line 'Do what you enjoy, enjoy what you do' and trademarked it. Did they lift from us?

  • http://www.greenpepper.in/ Krishna Kumar

    Blackberry's new ad – “Do what you love; love what you do”! 3 years back, GreenPepper designed catch line 'Do what you enjoy, enjoy what you do' and trademarked it. Did they lift from us?