RIM Escapes to Fantasy World, Imagines Superheroes Will Save It... Literally
January 31, 2012 11:17 AM
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Smartphone maker launches curious cartoon campaign amid plunging sales
Research in Motion, Ltd.'s (
) plunged to a
4.5 percent share
in the U.S. market during holiday 2012.
The company is clinging to profit margins thanks to
strong sales in emerging markets like China
(who is the new largest smartphone market), markets which gravitate towards budget smartphones with lower end hardware -- RIM's specialty. But RIM's dominance in these sectors may be short lived as they are increasingly looking to emulate the American market in turning to sleek Android handsets or the iPhone.
I. RIM Goes Full Hard on Superhero Campaign
But don't worry, investors. RIM has a plan -- superheroes. No, really.
RIM has put out a bizarre marketing campaign to boost its sinking market share. The campaign features childish cartoon caricatures (think 2D versions of Microsoft Corp. (
) Xbox Live avatars).
[Image Source: RIM]
Meet Gogo Girl (left), who "saves the day with a brilliant strategy", Justin Steele (bottom left), who's "always ready to stick up for his friends"; Trudy Foreal (middle), who "isn't afraid to call it as she sees it"; and Max Stone who is "able to jump out of a plane."
The full campaign aired
in a RIM blog
The characters were part of a fancy infographic:
[Image Source: RIM]
[F]our bold characters emerged from your
, and it’s clear to us that all are bravely stepping out of 2011 and into a 2012 filled with unlimited possibilities. Which are you? Tell
II. RIM: The Trouble Child of the Smartphone Market
But this is hardly the first sign that the company's grasp of reality may be slipping. After being outsold nearly 10-to-1 on the U.S. market by Android, new CEO Thorsten Heins claimed that
Android phones were unappealing
and that all of them were the same.
While Heins was clearly getting at software differentiation, the majority of consumers don't seem to be finding BlackBerry's fee-laden messaging and email services all that appealing. While their strong encryption may be a selling point to privacy fanatics, politicians, CEOs, or other high profile officials that handle sensitive transactions on a regular basis, to the average Joe or Jane they're a lot of buck for not much bang, compared to free offerings from rivals.
Mr. Heins was bumped up from the chief operating officer spot, which he came to in 2007 after years at Germany's Siemens AG (
). Many -- including a vocal investor contingent -- felt
the ouster of long time co-CEOs
(and company co-founders) Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis was
Mr. Heins, for his part, vows to "stay the course", saying that making smartphones "isn't baking cookies."
[Original Image Source: The Onion, modifications --
The "Be Bold" campaign was first announced on Jan. 1 and its new cartoonish mascots just hit the web. RIM hopes to use the characters to lure consumers back to the company. RIM will launch in H2 2012 the
delayed BB 10 OS
, which incorporates elements of QNX. The new OS was delayed due to RIM's difficulties in attaining acceptable LTE performance, according to company officials. RIM was
forced to rename the OS
after its executives (reportedly) refused to listen to their legal staff and named it BBX -- a name that was already trademark by a business software company.
While RIM has struggled in the era of modern touchscreen smartphones with
outright flops like the Storm
underwhelming performers like the Torch
, it does at least have one strong selling point left for the masses -- it has the best physical keyboards (hands down) in the industry.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
1/31/2012 3:43:04 PM
RIM should have owned the smartphone business, they had an enlightened transition from pagers to full-blown phones but their arrogance in resting on their early success has been their undoing.
Stand still for one day and you are going backwards.
Poor decision after poor decision later and I feel bad for their employees who are clearly smart people who are working really hard.
In much the same way as a hamster works hard in it's wheel...and goes nowhere.
"This is about the Internet. Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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