BlackBerry Wants to ‘Keep Moving’ With Big New Campaign

By: The New York Times Email
By: The New York Times Email
The much-discussed arrival on Wednesday of the all-new BlackBerry smartphone and operating system,  which have been deemed crucial to the future of its parent company, will be accompanied by a huge marketing campaign that is being described as the largest in the company’s history.

Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research in Motion, introduces the BlackBerry 10, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 in New York. The maker of the BlackBerry smartphone is promising a speedy browser, a superb typing experience and the ability to keep work and personal identities separate on the same phone.

(The New York Times) - The much-discussed arrival on Wednesday of the all-new BlackBerry smartphone and operating system, which have been deemed crucial to the future of its parent company, will be accompanied by a huge marketing campaign that is being described as the largest in the company’s history.

The campaign, with a budget estimated at more than $200 million, will include work from six agencies and the first-ever Super Bowl commercial for the BlackBerry brand, which is to appear during Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday.

In addition to the Super Bowl spot, there will be other television commercials, print and online ads, promotions, public relations efforts, events, a partnership with arts and cultural figures like Alicia Keys, a presence in social media and elaborate digital demonstrations in real time of the new offerings.

The spending will be the most ever for the company “by a long shot,” said Frank Boulben, chief marketing officer at the parent company, which on Wednesday changed its name from Research In Motion to BlackBerry, part of a corporate-wide re-branding.

Although “marketing success is not measured by how much you put into it,” Mr. Boulben said during an interview in Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday, referring to the size of a budget, the goal in this instance is for “a hugely impactful campaign.”

The campaign for the new BlackBerry Z10, formerly known as the BlackBerry 10, will carry the theme “Keep moving,” in a hat-tip to the psychographics of the target audience. Some ads will use the phrase “Built to keep you moving.”

People who use BlackBerry devices are “doers, achievers, people of action,” Mr. Boulben said. “They are about getting things done, success-oriented, multitasking and hyperconnected.”

(Three decades ago, such consumers were described as “the coffee achievers” in a campaign for the National Coffee Association.)

Mr. Boulben shared a quotation from Conrad Hilton, the lodging mogul who, coincidentally, figured in the plotline of episodes of “Mad Men,” the television series about the ad business. In the quotation, Mr. Hilton linked success and action and described how those who are successful “keep moving” and “don’t quit” despite any mistakes they may make.

Throughout the campaign, “the hero will be the product,” Mr. Boulben said, and “each piece of marketing will showcase a feature of the user experience.”

For instance, one commercial depicts how a user can “jump backward and forward in time to capture the perfect shot” of a child who is hard to photograph. The user takes advantage of a feature called Time Shift to replace an unsmiling face of the boy with a smiling one.

Ads for the Time Shift feature describe it with headlines like “Turn missed moments into magic ones.”

Another commercial tells how a user can “peek in and out of messages in the BlackBerry Hub from any app.” In a vignette, a young man prone on a float in a pool notices on his BlackBerry Z10 that “free gig tickets” are being offered online by his favorite band. He is seen next prone again, this time as he gleefully bodysurfs amid a crowd of concertgoers.

In a banner ad online, a computer user can take a typing challenge that is meant to show off the new BlackBerry keyboard. “Go thumb-to-thumb against the BlackBerry Z10 in a real-time text-off,” the ad declares.

A message at the end of a demonstration that was successful for BlackBerry would read something like this: “The Z10 was 2.5 seconds faster and needed 12 fewer keystrokes.”

The decision to advertise BlackBerry on the Super Bowl for the first time was inspired by the fact the introductory campaign would start four days before the game, Mr. Boulben said.

“The Super Bowl for us is an opportunity to mark our comeback,” he said, “and intrigue them to find out for themselves what BlackBerry Z10 is all about.”

“There is no better platform,” he added.

Another smartphone brand, Samsung Mobile, will also advertise during Super Bowl XVLII. Samsung Mobile, which also advertised during the Super Bowl last year, plans to run a commercial during the fourth quarter with the comedians Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen.

The Samsung Mobile spot is to last two minutes; the BlackBerry Z10 spot is to run 30 seconds.

The agencies working on the BlackBerry campaign are: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, part of the BBDO Worldwide division of the Omnicom Group, for creative and brand efforts; a digital team within the Publicis Groupe, for the digital efforts; Proximity, also part of BBDO, for customer relationship marketing; Phonevalley, part of Publicis, for mobile initiatives; Brodeur Partners, for public relations; and Edelman, part of Daniel J. Edelman Inc., for social media.

According to the Kantar Media unit of WPP, Research in Motion spent $148.2 million to advertise BlackBerry in major media in 2011, $169.5 million in 2010 and $109.7 million in 2009.

Ad spending in the first nine months of last year totaled $58.7 million, Kantar Media reported, a slowdown that reflected the plans to promote the new products in 2013.


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