Now RIM Is Just Getting Silly

RIM’s latest attempt to remake it’s image comes in the form of cartoon “superheroes”. Apparently they are intended to be part of a new advertising campaign. Who it is aimed at, I am not sure. When I see this, I begin to think RIM actually isn’t serious about trying to remake the company, to rebuild and come out stronger. RIM and Blackberry have a big image and branding problem. They are perceived as being behind the curve, “old” and not suited for modern consumers or modern businesses. But the best their marketing people can come up with are characters that appear to be aimed at getting the attention of 6-year olds?

Yes, some adults do like to identify themselves with cartoon characters from time to time. But this is often out of nostalgia, and more for fun than anything serious. Sure, a lot of us dream of being Bugs Bunny, but wake up as Daffy Duck. We sometimes use cartoon characters as metaphors, cultural touchstones that some people can identify with, and understand your meaning or message immediately. But the last time I let a cartoon character influence my buying decisions, I was probably around 8 or 9, and it was for a toy or some cereal with way too much sugar (and not enough marshmallow bits :-)).

I fully expect that HTC, Samsung, Motorola and Apple are going to have a field day with this. The argument will be simple: do you want a “real” phone meant for grown-ups and people with real things to do, or do you want a “toy” that works well in the cartoon world?

It’s almost as if RIM has stopped trying. I would say that the odds of some kind of break-up and sale are 100% now. Sure, it was pretty much a lock, but there always seemed to be a chance that maybe they would turn things around. But a CEO that is supposed to revamp the products he’s already muffed, a board woefully lacking in manufacturing and product expertise and now cartoon characters for branding? A rebuild from inside appears to be over, and we can all be witness to the sad and ignominious end to what was once a great company. And their end probably won’t even be noticed.

(with apologies to TS Eliot)

This is the way the Blackberry ends.
This is the way the Blackberry ends.
This is the way the Blackberry ends,
Not with a bang, but a whimper.

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