RIM's new superhero campaign reaches new levels of awful [Update]

It feels like we’re getting to the point where it’s just not fun anymore to mock Research In Motion for its penchant for stumbling from one disaster to another. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, 2011 was not just a bad year for RIM; it was one of the worst years in corporate history. Almost 80% of the company’s share value was wiped out in a matter of months as it systematically failed to address serious issues – from half-baked products and service outages to questionable priorities and endless delays – under the stewardship of not one, but two concurrent CEOs.

The men who presided over this unmitigated catastrophe – Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis – finally stepped down just over a week ago, to be replaced by Thorsten Heins, RIM’s former chief operations officer. One of his priorities – in the man’s own words, via an official company video – was to improve RIM’s market performance “by bringing some really good marketing expertise in”. As the company’s latest marketing campaign has now been revealed by Canadian site MobileSyrup, the scale of the task that lies ahead for RIM becomes painfully clear.

Before anything else, we should be clear on one thing: this marketing campaign isn’t entirely the fault of Heins. It was conceived while Balsillie and Lazaridis were still in charge, and set in motion during New Year’s Eve celebrations in New York, through tweets that drunk, exhausted party-goers submitted via the #BeBold hashtag. Even so, Heins should probably be held accountable for not pulling the plug on this fiasco within minutes of assuming his new role as CEO.

RIM requested that users tweet how they planned to ‘be bold’ in 2012 and, it is claimed, “four Bold characters emerged from your #BeBold resolutions – all are bravely stepping out of 2011 and into 2012 filled with unlimited possibilities”. Now, weeks into the new year, and long after pretty much everyone has already abandoned their resolutions, RIM's keen sense of timeliness, and its ability to strike while the iron is hot, remain pretty much true to form.

And so, it’s with a deep and heavy sigh, that we meet RIM’s team of cartoon superheroes:

Justin Steele: The Advocate – “outgoing and kind; his hobbies include saving cats caught in trees and using Social Feeds in his spare time”

Trudy Foreal: The Authentic – “not afraid to call it as she sees it; enjoys long walks on the beach and old-school ninja movies”

Max Stone: The Adventurer – “tough, proud and a little wild; but you can count on Max to face any challenge”

Gogo Girl: The Achiever – “clever, resourceful and just a bit random”


I know what all of these words mean individually, but does anyone understand why they've all been thrown together in this way, or why a marketing campaign has been built around it all? What does this say about the BlackBerry brand? What message does RIM want us to take away from this? What should we, as consumers, be doing with this information?

The full-length infographic doesn't appear to shed much more light on where this is all going, but if you have any idea what the devil's going on here, let us know in the comments below.


Update: An anonymous - but very, very angry (and possibly masked/caped) - tipster has contacted us to demand that we "report the truth", by pointing out that RIM has made a clarification since this article was published, emphasising that this dreadful superhero nonsense is, mercifully, "not a new ad campaign". We are, of course, happy to oblige in the name of upholding truth and justice. 

Still absolutely no idea what the point of the exercise was though. Are we supposed to go buy a BlackBerry now?

 

via BGR

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48 Comments

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RIM releases one infographic and half of the blogosphere is crying faul over their supposedly new FAILURE of an ad campaign.

Nice going Neowin, nice going. What's even worse is that you reposted this from BGR, a site notorious for it's hate towards Blackberry, guess checking of sources isn't really all that necessary anymore in journalism these days... At least have the decency to update your post saying this ISN'T a new ad campaign like the others. I'm sure you will once you catch up reading the other blogs.....

HoochieMamma said,
Common Google, buy them out already. This is just sad to see now.

Google wont ever buy them. They cant afford them anyways.

RIM is done, their products can't compete...sell your stocks!!! Their major backing partners have already backed out.

That's easily one of the most pointless marketing effort I have ever seen. It doesn't even make much sense.

Unfortunately, you can't sell a cellphone to a 8 years old girl.
Well, not yet.
Sorry RIM, I fail to see how can this bring anything except shame and tears to your investors.
Just Sayin'

boumboqc said,
Unfortunately, you can't sell a cellphone to a 8 years old girl.
Well, not yet.
Sorry RIM, I fail to see how can this bring anything except shame and tears to your investors.
Just Sayin'

I've had cellphones since I was about 11 or 12...

MASTER260 said,

I've had cellphones since I was about 11 or 12...

A cellphone at 11 years old ?
Sorry, I must be from the old "gang" but I really think this is too young.

dotf said,

Incorrect sir.
Our school children in Canada get free RIM devices from the local phone company, which also uses animated characters for marketing:

http://www.sasktel.com

I don't see why this company would give free cellphones to kids. We don't need to addict them at this age! I'm really against this!

boumboqc said,
I don't see why this company would give free cellphones to kids. We don't need to addict them at this age! I'm really against this!

The same reason that one US state are buying iPads for their students, as learning tools.

It was a pilot project for rural students to have internet access. Some for the first time.

TechGuyPA said,
Disney called - They need the stunt doubles for the incredibles back

I have never seen the skirt version of this costume.

This is where when you accidently run over a rabbit or squirrel, and have to run it over again to put it out of its misery.

Wow.. they are trying to selling them to kids or what. Altought i see a lot of young woman in the bus/subway with Blackberries...

tester.br said,
RIM is DEAD.

done, finished, finalle, deal with it !

Except...they're not. At least not yet. It'll be a long time before RIM is dead. Assuming that's where they end up, which is completely up for debate.

Muhammad Farrukh said,
I don't see a problem here

You genuinely see this as a competant way to market a smartphone that relies heavily on the corporate market?

nik louch said,

You genuinely see this as a competant way to market a smartphone that relies heavily on the corporate market?

Maybe they should run a campaign on how fast one can post to a social network. That will definitely get people to buy that phone. /s

nik louch said,
You genuinely see this as a competant way to market a smartphone that relies heavily on the corporate market?
Meh. The BlackBerry is already stablished in the corporate world. And the point of doing this is to try to lure more L0LkidZ.

nik louch said,

You genuinely see this as a competant way to market a smartphone that relies heavily on the corporate market?

I think that's what they are trying to do. Asking the investors to 'be bold', and invest in RIM.

tiagosilva29 said,
Meh. The BlackBerry is already stablished in the corporate world. And the point of doing this is to try to lure more L0LkidZ.

They are losing that grib too (although more slowly than consumer market)

tiagosilva29 said,
Meh. The BlackBerry is already stablished in the corporate world. And the point of doing this is to try to lure more L0LkidZ.
Established yes, but it's also bleeding market share worse than the Predator after it met Arnold.

FMH said,
snip
What matters to me is what is going down in my country. You normaly see these in the corporate world: BlackBerry; Nokia; iPhone. By that order.

bdsams said,
They probably looked at the WebOS strategy and said "Lets suck slightly less than that".

WebOS itself doesn't suck. It always has been the hardware. They had bad luck there.

FMH said,

WebOS itself doesn't suck. It always has been the hardware. They had bad luck there.


He said, "strategy," i.e. I think he was talking about how they marketed it.

MASTER260 said,

He said, "strategy," i.e. I think he was talking about how they marketed it.

Agreed that's what he meant I think.

It's a shame what happened to WebOS because I really liked the operating system I thought it was quite polished and bridged the gap between iOS simplicity and Android functionality. HP should have been quick to release new phones based on the OS when they bought Palm. Wasted opportunity.