While using our company iPhone to peruse Twitter recently, we were saddened to learn about the dire financial straits former homegrown success story Research in Motion finds itself in these days. As the makers of the once-mighty BlackBerry, Canada’s flagship tech firm has fallen far from its original glory, not unlike an actual blackberry left unpicked and unloved withering in the hot August sun.
They may have taught the world how to type with their thumbs but fickle consumers are now thumbing their noses at BlackBerry for not keeping up with the times. The company recently announced it is now exploring “strategic alternatives” to avoid going belly-up. One possible solution to help stop the bleeding here at home could be to try shamelessly pandering to Canadian national pride like other major companies do. This is a country where a doughnut chain launched by a washed-up hockey player who died while drunk driving has managed to convince people that drinking mediocre coffee is practically a patriotic duty, and Team K&K has helpfully come up with a few marketing suggestions that might put BlackBerry back in the black:
Surrounding phones with a cardboard lining as part of a “Roll up the RIM to win” campaign similar to Tim Hortons where users would have a chance to win free apps, coupons or even shares in plummeting RIM stock.
Despite the vast limitations of its own product, Molson nonetheless cornered the Canadian beer market 10 years ago through its iconic I Am Canadian ads starring a random hoser named Joe who expressed his nationalistic fervour by pointing out some of the ways Canadians differ from our neighbours to the south. Nowadays Jeff Douglas, the actor who played him, is working as a co-host on CBC’s As It Happens and is probably still available for similar ads to show how BlackBerries aren’t like iPhones. For example: “I like to eat apples, not use Apple products, and it is pronounced Zed-10 not Zee-10. Zed-10! And let’s not forget that Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone right here in Canada, eh!”
RIM’s former co-CEO, Jim Balsillie, has been trying for years to purchase an NHL team and bring them to a Canadian market. If he was able to pursue this plan again, this should get plenty of consumers on board since buying a team isn’t likely to happen if the company goes bust. As an added incentive, it couldn’t hurt to remind Canadians just how much this would piss off Gary Bettman.
As a last resort, RIM might want to consider a bold rebranding since nobody really likes the taste of actual blackberries. They’re basically the black sheep of the Rubus berry family. We suggest giving the products a new, more Canadian name like SalmonBerry, ArcticBerry, ArcticBerry Fritter or even Barrie, Ontario.
(This post was first published in Kudos & Kvetches © Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier)