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March 09, 2012

BlackBerry Looks to College Humor Comedians to Perk Up its Product Line

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

It may be the saddest sign yet, but Research In Motion is looking to go down swinging in terms of its formerly popular BlackBerry. And while the BlackBerry (News - Alert) line is getting trounced on pretty much every front by newly-popular rivals Android and iOS (with an outside nod going to Microsoft's Windows Phone, which is rapidly picking up steam), it's looking to improve its product's fortunes, not by improving the product, but by giving it better marketing.

Research In Motion, the company behind BlackBerry, has reportedly hired Amir Blumenfeld and Streeter Seidell of College Humor to put an end to “BlackBerry trash talk once and for all”. Just how they intend to do such a thing is unclear as yet, but it's safe to assume that it's going to involve a series of web videos of the kind for which College Humor is already famous.

BlackBerry's previous attempts at expanding its audience and recovering youth appeal haven't gone over very well, with one of the latest attempts involving a team of superheroes featuring such lesser-known luminaries as “Trudy Foreal: The Authentic” and “Justin Steele: The Advocate”, as well as the “Be Bold” campaign in which big-name bloggers are invited to talk about their “boldest” moments. Neither effort was commonly regarded as a success.

Considering that the primary problem seems to be one of hardware – some regard the BlackBerry device in general as little more than “a screen with a giant calculator attached to it” – attempting to fix the problem with better marketing seems to be less like a good idea and more like a desperate attempt to kill a housefly with harsh language.

Research In Motion looks like it's fixing the wrong problem, as no amount of superheroes, bloggers, or funny videos will get people interested in buying hardware that doesn't do the job that others do, or at least do other jobs better than their competitors.

BlackBerry seems to need less a better marketing presence and more a better product to market in the first place. Once the new BlackBerry devices offer comparable tech specs and control schemes to their rivals, then a series of comical videos might put the necessary punch in their bottom line. But as long as Research In Motion looks to put the cart before the horse, I don't expect good results, and neither should they.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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