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Guerrilla marketing scheme gains attention, but will it lead to sales?

An eye-catching protest/flash-mob occurred outside an Apple, Inc. (AAPL) store in Sydney Australia.  Blogger Nate 'Blunty' Burr captured the whole incident on video, leading some to believe he may have been hired by whoever was behind the campaign.

I. All Aboard the Protest Bus

He describes, "All of a sudden a big black bus pulls up.  A bunch of people dressed in black pour out of said bus with protest signs and they start screaming 'Wake up!'"

"Perhaps it's some sort of guerilla marketing for a new SIRI feature," he deadpans, "SIRI, please send a screaming mob to me at work to me at 2 pm. BEW-DOOP!"

Well given Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KS:005930) upcoming Galaxy S3 launch and its recent history of mocking Apple's throng of followers, everyone sort of reached the forgone conclusion that the South Korean phonemaker was behind this.  After all, Samsung was likely a bit sore at the fact that Apple had succeeding in banning its tablet sales for a while in Australia, before the ruling was overturned.

But Samsung -- who some estimate is now the world's largest smartphone-maker, ahead of Apple -- denied crafting the stunt.  A spokesperson told the Australian newspaper The Age, "As a market leader in smartphones we think Australians have already woken up to the multitude of choices available, but kudos to whoever is behind the campaign."

II. The True Backer Shows Their Face

So if it wasn't Samsung who was it?

It turns out the noisy mob was the work of Research in Motion ltd. (TSE:RIM), makers of the BlackBerry smartphone.  RIM is currently working on preparing its brand-new QNX-based BlackBerry 10 smartphone operating system for the market.

RIM recently received a "wake up" of its own, recording its first quarterly loss in years.

RIM wakeup
[Image Source: YouTube]

But with a new leader at the helm, the company is determined to stay independent and perhaps even give Apple, et al. a wake up call of its own.

RIM comments, "We can confirm that the Australian 'Wake Up' campaign, which involves a series of experiential activities taking place across Sydney and Melbourne, was created by RIM Australia."

Rim mob
[Image Source: YouTube]

The phonemaker promises it didn't pay off bloggers like Mr. Burr -- who has done in-depth past coverage for RIM -- to cover the mock protest.  The company assures, "Bloggers were not paid for this campaign or told what to say.  Neither RIM, nor any agencies on RIM's behalf, have ever paid Blunty."

The company has a webpage up promoting the viral campaign  The site has a countdown, which is currently ~422,450 seconds from completion, or about five days away.  RIM is expected to deliver a preview of the upcoming BlackBerry 10 in Australia at the end of the week.

The company does have a bit of a history of provocative ad campaigns backfiring.  Around this time last year RIM spent millions on a campaign for its PlayBook tablet, declaring "Amateur hour is over.

But reviews of the PlayBook embarassingly indicated that RIM's tablet was very much the "amateur hour" device compared to veteran designs like the iPad.  A year later, RIM is at it again, this time hoping for better results.

Sources: YouTube, RIM, The Age

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RE: BBOS 10 isn't here, nor a BBOS 10 phone!
By retrospooty on 5/1/2012 4:36:27 PM , Rating: 2
"Wake Up would have been a good idea had there been a phone available."

Very good point. Wake up Apple fans and buy our... well, nevermind our end, just wake up.

Really effective point RIM is making LOL.

RE: BBOS 10 isn't here, nor a BBOS 10 phone!
By Tony Swash on 5/1/12, Rating: -1
RE: BBOS 10 isn't here, nor a BBOS 10 phone!
By KakarotUSMC on 5/1/2012 7:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
Gosh Tony Swash, the fact that people crowd outside Apple shops (even for days before a new product launch) seems a bit creepy, don't you think? And they don't get "the crowds by just opening the doors" - that's due to marketing to people who place value in their Apple possession(s) status where perhaps that desire to own (and show everyone they know) the latest Apple electronic device begins to take on an unhealthy obsession?

By ritualm on 5/1/2012 8:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
Creepy? I think not. Fairly common in other places and locales. I've waited in line for less (read: non-Apple stuff).

Heck, I'm not sure if Apple needs to spend money on marketing anymore. Its products literally market themselves.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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