BlackBerry Ad Urges Customers Not to Hang Up on Them

 BlackBerry Ad Urges Customers Not to Hang Up on Them

THE PR VERDICT: “C” (Distinctly OK) for BlackBerry.

One can’t help but think of the old joke from Monty Python and The Holy Grail: “I’m not dead yet.” That’s the underlying message of a full-page ad from BlackBerry running in 30 publications worldwide

Newspapers and the rest of the media have been reporting for the past few years on the downfall of a product once so ubiquitous and addictive it was commonly referred to as “CrackBerry.” Since then, the Canadian-based company has been eclipsed by Apple’s iPhone and other smartphones. Occasional technical difficulties and product misfires have led to BlackBerry laying off 40 percent of its workforce and putting itself up for sale, amid speculation that it’s terminal anyway.

Interestingly BlackBerry chose print ads to give its customers an update: the province of an older demographic, while younger smartphone users are happy with touch-screens.  The most loyal of BlackBerry’s customers say they’re holding onto their phones because of its now old-fashioned keypads and the ad, in the form of an open letter, reads, in part, “These are no doubt challenging times for us and we don’t underestimate the situation or ignore the challenges…” but, “You can continue to count on BlackBerry.”

THE PR VERDICT: “C” (Distinctly OK) for BlackBerry. On one hand, good to reassure people it’s still alive; on the other, bad to have to do that.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: One option for damage control is image control. The company has a high media profile, but the news is almost all bad  and next steps are crucial when standing on a crumbling precipice. Given that the biggest demographic in America is Boomers, it might be wiser for BlackBerry to appeal to them and make a virtue of its old fashioned appeal. Appearing rejuvenated with a mild face lift, as the phone not of a future generation but the current one, might be the positioning that reassures that BlackBerry is alive after all.

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Suzan Colon About Suzan Colon

Suzan Colon, The PR Verdict’s Content Editor, has written for magazines including O, the Oprah Magazine; Jane; Details; Rolling Stone; Harper’s Bazaar; and many other publications. She is the author of Cherries in Winter: My Family’s Recipe for Hope in Hard Times (Random House). Suzan blogs for the Huffington Post and has appeared on The Today Show, The Early Show, and NPR. For more, visit suzancolon.net.

What is Your PR Verdict?

  1. BLACKBERRY THREW AWAY THEIR MARKET, AND THEY SHOULD BE ASHAMED! I AM A LOYAL B’BERRY USER, ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. WHEN THE “NEW” B’BERRY WAS GOING ON THE MARKET – NOT ONCE, NOT ONCE, DID THEY COME TO ME, OR VIA VERIZON, AND ASK ME TO CONVERT TO THE Z/Q10. I NEEDED TO CHANGE MODELS – THEY NEVER LOOKED AT MY CONTRACT WHICH HAD BEEN OVER FOR YEARS. THEY NEVER MADE A SPECIAL OFFER. THEY NEVER SENT AN ENTICING SWITCH TO. NO, IT HAPPENED IN A VACUUM. I READ ALL ABOUT THE NEW iPHONE, THE NEW SAMSUNG, THE NEW FILL IN THE BLANK. BLACKBERRY……………….. NOTHING! NO MAJOR ADS LEADING UP TO THE LAUNCH. NO IN-STORE OR WINDOW DISPLAYS IN VERIZON, NOTHING. AND ALL ABOUT HOW THE BREED WAS DYING A NATURAL DEATH FROM INERTIA.

    I DON’T WANT TO CHANGE FROM BLACKBERRY – AND I DID GET A NEW ONE, BUT THE OLD MODEL WITH THE TRACKER BALL. I DON’T CARE ABOUT TOUCH TONE, I CARE ABOUT THE KEYBOARD FOR ME. I HAVE ENOUGH BELLS & WHISTLES, I DON’T HAVE TIME TO LEARN NEW SYSTEMS. I COULD BE A BLACKBERRY USER FOREVER IF THEY EVER PAID ATTENTION TO KEEPING LOYAL CUSTOMERS. THEY STILL HAVE A VIABLE MARKET – GET SOMEONE IN THERE TO SUPPORT AND PROMOTE IT. STOP THIS LOUSY AND DEBILITATING AD CAMPAIGN OF “THE RUMOURS OF MY DEATH ARE GROSSLY EXAGGERATED.” AND IF ONLY SOMEONE WOULD READ AND TAKE THE POWER OF THE BLACKBERRY USER TO HEART. THEY DON’T NEED TO LOOSE MARKET SHARE. AND YES, THE BOOMER GENERATION IS THE B’BERRY MARKET – AND IT WILL BE GROWING FOR DECADES TO COME.

  2. Jennifer Berg says:

    I felt the ads were remarkably humble. Whilst you may be right about strategically hitting up the Boomers; Blackberry’s brave, honest and humble request was a refreshing change of message with no spin or fancy bells and whistles.

    I love my Blackberry, and I am rooting for them!!

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