Ever since seeing the 2013 Super Bowl ad for the BlackBerry Z10, I have been unimpressed with BlackBerry's television marketing strategy for the new BlackBerry 10 devices. As the months have passed, my feelings for the strategy have changed, and have solidified into utter disdain.
About Current Ads
The television commercials that are currently running here in the US are few and far between--and mediocre at best. The TV spots aren't terrible, but I am of the opinion that they are ineffective for a number of reasons which I will speak at length about a bit later. See the video below for an example of the ads that are currently running in the US.
these ads fail based on substance and fail to connect to the viewer in any meaningful way
How did that ad make you feel? More importantly, DID that ad make you feel? That ad didn't move you in any emotional way, correct? These ads fail to connect to the viewer on an emotional level, and they don't showcase the features present on BlackBerry 10 devices as much as they could. So, for me these ads fail based on substance and fail to connect to the viewer in any meaningful way.
How to Market a Smartphone
In order to market a smartphone, one must first understand what a smartphone is, how people use their smartphone, and what the dynamic of the relationship is between a user and his or her smartphone.
Basically, we all know what a smartphone is and we know how people use it. Smart phones are small computers that many people use as their primary means of communication in their daily lives. People uses these gadgets to email, text, video chat, voice call, Tweet, etc. But what many of us fail to realize is how much our smartphone really means to us. People spend a LOT of time with their smart phones, and as a result they have a very specific type of relationship with their devices.
The relationship between the user and his or her smartphone is an intimate one. The device is in your pocket or purse when not in use, in your hand most of the time, on your night stand at night. It wakes you up in the morning, it tells you what you have planned for the day, it reminds you of important events, lets you know when something needs your attention, provides you with weather reports, gives you the news... You get the point.
We care about our smart phones in a way that is different from any other piece of technology
The relationship we have with our smart phones is unique. We care about our smart phones in a way that is different from any other piece of technology. Many of us frantically search for our devices in the event that we misplace it. We feel uneasy when we leave it at home. We perform amazing acrobatic feats to keep our device from crashing to ground when it slips from our hands. It's clear that we care about our devices whether we all realized it before now or not.
So why does all this matter?
It's simple, we have a personal and emotional connection with our devices, and if you want to convince me to start a new relationship with the smartphone that your company makes, you damn well better move me on an emotional level with your commercials. Now obviously the most productive people out there simply want a device that allows them to get their work done efficiently and quickly, but let's face it, they already use a BlackBerry. So, who's left? Those are the ones to whom you must appeal.
The elements of an effective BlackBerry Commercial
So let's analyze the video below created by PixelCarve. The ad was unsolicited and was not sanctioned by BlackBerry.
So, how did that make you feel? Empowered? Excited? Did you learn anything new? In my personal opinion, with a few tweaks this ad should be running on every TV channel as much as possible everyday. This ad is effective for a few reasons (in order or importance)
- It acknowledges the past and the struggles associated with the legacy BlackBerry devices, but clearly states that BlackBerry has always put an emphasis on communication and Productivity.
"When we invented the smartphone, we didn't quite appreciate what we'd started"
- It humanizes BlackBerry, the company by allowing viewers to feel as if they can relate to the company on an emotional level.
"There comes a time when every company has to evolve...to become reinspired by what first made them great"
- It tells the entire story and distinguishes the old from the new. This is critical. Viewers must know that these aren't the same old BlackBerry devices.
"We've been quietly pouring our heart and soul into the foundation of this next evolution..."
- It emphasizes the power QNX has and exposes the potential that lies ahead for the platform.
"QNX, the operating system so stable, secure, and fast that its relied upon by the likes of NASA..."
- It gives props to TAT and acknowledges their incredible talent and contribution.
"...to The Astonishing Tribe who design the most beautiful and functional interfaces the world has ever seen"
I know BlackBerry recognizes some of what I am saying in this editorial. This is evidenced in the following video which was shown on stage during the BlackBerry Live Keynote address in May of this year.
Some striking similarities between this video and the PixelCarve video, eh?
In the US, an effective ad is either hilarious, shockingly aggressive, or emotionally moving. The current BlackBerry 10 ads running in the US are none of those things.
With all the previous withstanding, I beg you BlackBerry, for the sake of the company, the brand, the community, and your employees, please take this advice to heart. We are all counting on you and rooting for your success.