The Advertising Apprentice

December 17, 2014

What’s Old is New Again – The BlackBerry Classic

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 11:42 PM
Tags: , ,

If you went BlackBerry’s website today you’d have the option of playing the following video:

Between the slow-playing piano, the minimal on-screen text, and the impressive shots of the BlackBerry device, BlackBerry did a great job in introducing us to the BlackBerry Classic. With today’s entry I’m going to veer off script and instead of talking about a great ad or brilliant example of branding, as will be the case with my next entry on the Energizer Bunny, I want to the lead-up to, and the release of the BlackBerry Classic. I should also point out that this entry will mainly be told from my perspective as a consumer.

Today at an event in New York BlackBerry CEO John Chen unveiled Blackberry’s newest device, the Blackberry Classic, which is a throwback to their Bold 9900. You can read about it in this Canadian Press article.

What caught my eye actually has little to do with today’s release of the Classic, but a lot to do with BlackBerry’s announcement last month. In late November the company revealed that between December 1st, 2014 and February 13th, 2015 that people with an iPhone 4s or later would be entitled, between trade-in and a top-up of, to up to $600, when they traded in their iPhone and bought a BlackBerry Passport. The top-up was the key element in that deal because at $150 for American customers and $200 for Canadian customers it sweetened the pot just enough that if you had an eligible iPhone and were contemplating a switch Blackberry, your curiosity would be piqued.

I have an iPhone and switched last fall from the BlackBerry Bold because I lost confidence in company after hearing in September 2013 that they were cutting a significant portion of their workforce. (My decision to go with the iPhone as opposed to one of the Android devices is due to the fact that I have several Apple products and am familiar with Apple’s platform.) While I have been very happy with my iPhone the one element I miss is the physical keyboard. When I heard about the BlackBerry Passport promotion, I was intrigued. While doing some research into the Passport I discovered the device was being sold for $699; an amount that even with the money I’d get for my iPhone seemed a little steep. I looked into it further and a couple weeks ago I came across the Passport in a store and within seconds of picking it up and playing around with it, I knew it wasn’t for me.

As I looked into the Passport offer I learned that BlackBerry planned on releasing a new device this December, the Classic which is modeled after the Bold. As I mentioned above I had a Bold and loved it. At a retail price of $499 it’s a lot more attractive than the $699 I would have to pay for the Passport. And it’s basically a no-brainer for me, spend $499 to get a device that replicates its previous inception. It also helps that it’s being sold at a better price-point.

I’m impressed by what BlackBerry was able to do, intentional or not. And based on the history of the company and their track-record, I’m inclined to believe the timing of the Passport offer and the release of the Classic was definitely planned to attract iPhone users not so much to the Passport, but to the Classic, and a week before Christmas at that. The move will also boost their sales as they approach the end of the their 4th quarter, but I’m not a business major so I can’t speak to that too much more than that! Economics aside, BlackBerry did a great job with using the Passport to help them push the Classic. They’ve won me back! Now that I’ll have a physical keyboard again, maybe I’ll write a post or two from my Classic; something I would have never considered with my iPhone.

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