BlackBerry Repositions, Debuts Passport

Mobile company BlackBerry has kicked off a global brand re-launch with a campaign developed and implemented by ad shop gyro. The agency was selected to do the work after a formal pitch. 

The campaign repositions BlackBerry as the firm that offers “Serious Mobility for Serious Business,” and coincides with the debut of the company’s new Passport device. 

The effort is part of a major makeover for the 15-year-old mobile phone and network company, which was hit hard by the double whammy of the debut of the Apple iPhone seven years ago, and the big recession. 

By 2012 there was talk that the company would go under, or at least file for Chapter 11 and reorganize as it sought to sell itself. Late last year, however, after failing to find an outright buyer, the company secured a $1 billion finance package from a group of investors led by Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings. 



As part of the deal, turnaround specialist John Chen came in as interim CEO. Previously he led the turnaround of Sybase Inc., shifting its focus to become a thriving mobile commerce solutions provider. 

So far, Chen is credited with making progress at BlackBerry — refocusing on government contracts and big business — although the company’s revenue and profits are still falling. 

Gyro has created all of the worldwide core sales and marketing assets, campaign guidelines and messaging for the integrated global “Serious Mobility for Serious Business” effort. 

“BlackBerry is the most relevant brand when it comes to mobility in serious business,” said Christoph Becker, CEO and chief creative officer, gyro. “There is nothing better than being seriously productive in your job” -- a task that BlackBerry has made its mission to help customers achieve. “It’s in their DNA,” Becker added. “BlackBerry understands serious business…Being able to bring back a beloved icon like BlackBerry is the best job ever for an ad agency.” 

The company is not disclosing the spending earmarked for the new campaign. Earlier this month, when it reported quarterly results, it said that sales and marketing costs for the period were down by about half to approximately $200 million. 

According to Kantar, BlackBerry spent about $95 million in the U.S. on ads in 2013, $67 million of which was spent in the first half, before it turned away from the consumer market to focus primarily on business. In the first half of this year, U.S. measured media spending totaled $2 million. Global ad spending figures were not available.

2 comments about "BlackBerry Repositions, Debuts Passport".
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  1. Alissa Greene from ASU , October 4, 2014 at 12:25 a.m.

    As a member of the millennial generation who is still in a university and surrounded by Apple products, seeing this ad makes me very happy. I instantly became intrigued when scrolling through mediapost considering it showed a phone that FINALLY appears different than the Iphone or Droids that are currently prevalent in the marketplace. I am honestly tired of the played out Apple products that fail to really adapt to the business and productivity world. They are literally and figuratively too narrow and that is what I instantly thought when seeing the ad for the 'serious business' campaign. I think there is a reason the notion of the BlackBerry has remained in consumers thoughts, and that is because it is so memorable and was truly the pioneer of innovative phones. I definitely feel that if they apply this ad to young college students (homework material), and business men and women, and the average housewife, it could be incredibly successful. Gyro has certainly positioned the product well at a time where it seems that nothing is new and nothing is innovative on our phones anymore. I am interested to see how the campaign performs for the BlackBerry

  2. Nicole Baron Dietrich from Arizona State, October 4, 2014 at 7:29 p.m.

    It is really surprising to hear that Blackberry is launching an ad campaign with their recent history. In my opinion, it does not make very much sense. Their attempt to sell the company was unsuccessful and their revenue and profits are both significantly down. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone using a Blackberry device. It’s difficult to compete with the other leaders in that market, Apple and Android. These two companies have been successful and don’t show signs of declining any time soon. I do, however, think Blackberry is going in the right direction with their ad campaign. It seems most efficient to target business people because of the functions that Blackberry offers. Since the spending for this campaign is not being disclosed it is difficult to really know how big this campaign will be. Their spending on advertising was nearly cut in half last year, which makes me wonder if they were expecting to launch a new campaign and saved up funds for that reason. Something Blackberry should consider for their new launch is marketing their new innovations. Apple does an outstanding job at making sure people want/need to buy their new products. They also make products that are innovative and current. People thrive off of having the latest and greatest devices. If Blackberry can cater to this then they actually could have a shot at a comeback. Advertising does help companies significantly, but if you don’t have an incredible product to offer then people will not spend their money on you.

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