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Backfiring Blackberry

Smartphone marketing campaign derided for completely missing the mark

In a prime example of how not to ‘do’ marketing – content or otherwise – a recent stunt by Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) looks like it has backfired, big time!

Last week, a ‘protest’ took place outside Sydney’s George Street Apple store, exhorting people to ‘Wake Up’. A blogger called Nate Burr, aka ‘Blunty’, happened to be at the store at the time. Like any good blogger, he filmed the events and posted them on YouTube. Within hours, the video had gone viral…

It was clearly a campaign of sorts (with similarly black-clad, sign-holding figures, billboards and more being spotted elsewhere in Sydney), and the Internet was soon abuzz with all sorts of virtual fingers being pointed. Initially, the chief suspect was Samsung, Apple’s biggest rival for Smartphone supremacy, but the company released a statement saying: ‘As a market leader in Smartphones we think Australians have already woken up to the multitude of choices available, but kudos to whoever is behind the campaign.’

And then it was revealed yesterday that RIM ‘is behind the campaign’, but far from receiving kudos, it has been universally derided for a poorly thought out publicity stunt designed to get people to visit a website featuring a countdown to the 7 May release of the new Blackberry 10 operating system.

The goal, according to an RIM Australia statement, is to ‘provoke conversation about what “being in business” means for Australians’.

Unfortunately for the company, although social media conversation has been provoked and articles (like this one!) have been appeared in the blogosphere and in the mainstream media, that conversation soon turns to how far Blackberry is behind the likes of Apple and Samsung, with people lining up to put the boot in:

  • ‘Blackberry is not associated with any kind of success.’
  • ‘RIM is such an also-ran its name was forgotten as a possible candidate [for being behind the stunt].’
  • ‘It was all a mess.’

Ouch!

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