The launch of the BlackBerry Z10 and rechristening of Research in Motion as simply "BlackBerry" is a Hail Mary business play. So, it's only fitting that you'll be seeing a commercial for the newly rethought smartphone during the Super Bowl tonight.
The reason behind the new playbook is obvious: BlackBerry no longer rules ‘top-of-mind' in the smart phone category. Android OEMs and Apple gobbled up mindshare, and BlackBerry's market share collapsed from 20% in 2009 to 3.4% in December, according to researcher Strategy Analytics. Android and iOS devices have 90% share, and millions more users than RIM ever had back in its heyday.
All Things D's Walt Mossberg offered a blunt assessment of just how much is riding on the success of Blackberry 10, writing: "The Z10 and BB10 represent a radical reinvention of the BlackBerry. The hardware is decent and the user interface is logical and generally easy to use. I believe it has a chance of getting RIM back into the game, if the company can attract a lot more apps."
The apps will follow if it attracts new users (its once vaunted user base is just a mere fraction of today's market) - hence tonight's Super Bowl ad. Ad Age reports that BlackBerry is planning an aggressive ad campaign kicking off with the commercial, a 30-second spot will show an audience of tens of millions how BlackBerry 10 was completely reengineered and redesigned from soup to nuts.
A social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter will follow. BlackBerry has previously paid for a one-day takeover of The New York Times. It now joins a long list of technology companies that have made strategic bets on the exposure that a Super Bowl ad can deliver.
(Image credit: BlackBerry)