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Grasping at Straws

Posted by Rankyn Phyle on 2012 Jul 04

Blackberry Logo

The BlackBerry was a phenomenal thing for its time.
It was the premiere smartphone when all the others were little more than a glorified Rolodex.
But, alas, times have changed and you either adapt or die.

You see, while BlackBerry tried to maintain its stuffy image of being a suit wearing, power lunching, meeting taking corporate tool, the rest of the world decided that they just really wanted to play Angry Birds.

That, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing.
But now those same portable game devices can do everything a BlackBerry can do and more.

The BlackBerry has become a technological dinosaur and that’s why I think it’s time for RIM to concede the election and try to go out gracefully.

Unfortunately, this is exactly the opposite of what they’ve decided to do.

As evidence, I present this radio ad I’ve been hearing for the past couple of weeks.
In it, they describe some sort of accomplishment your child has made and how, as a result of said accomplishment, a recruiter for a major university wants to offer your child a full scholarship.
However, this recruiter only knows about some obscure email address you only check once every few months and because he sends his offer to it, you will have gone deeply into debt to send your child to a state college before you discover that he could have had an Ivy League education for free if you’d only remembered to check that one forgotten email account.

BUT if you’d had a BlackBerry, you could link all your email accounts to it and assure a bright future for your offspring.

You’ve spent all this money on an ad campaign and the biggest selling point you could come up with is that it can receive email from multiple accounts?

I mean, c’mon… the scenario you’ve built here is absurd.
“Hi, I’m a recruiter for a well respected institute of higher education and I’ve just witnessed an outstanding performance by your child at [insert event here] and I wanted to offer him/her a generous scholarship to our prestigious institution so I’m sending this email to some random address I found that may or may not belong to you via a Google search rather than approaching you directly or going through your child’s school because if everyone we offered these to accepted them, we’d be bankrupt by the end of the week.”

Even so, let’s assume that the offer is legit and this guy is merely the worst recruiter in the history of recruiters and has only managed to hold onto his job because his grandmother donated a building to the university.
We need to further assume that you, as the target of the advertisement for such an upscale device as the BlackBerry, possess enough knowledge to configure it to centralize all your email accounts even though the advertisement implies that you still check them separately.

That brings me back to my original point: Seriously?
I mean, radio costs less than television but a national ad buy still ain’t cheap.
Surely you could have come up with a better selling point than, “Our product lets you read all your email in one place.”
…just like you can with every iPhone and Android device!
I know practically nothing about Windows phones but I’d be willing to bet money that they can do it too.

So, as a service to the ad agency that came up with this bit of brilliance (and the execs who approved it), I would like to offer some other ideas that you could use for future campaigns:

– It comes in colors other than black.
– The name sounds like some sort of fruity drink that you’d serve at one of your parties.
– It fits in your pocket in case you want to take it outdoors with you.
– You can use it to make telephone calls.
– It comes with a cable that you can use to charge its battery AND sync it with your computer.
– Keep all your important contacts on it.
– It runs at least 12% of the apps that people actually want to use on their smartphones.
– Our network hasn’t crashed or destroyed all your important data in at least 6 months.

Don’t get me wrong… I don’t think the BlackBerry is useless, merely behind the times and unlikely to ever catch up.
That reminds me of this portion of some webcomic.

Blackberry Dinosaur


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