BlackBerry's baffling Z10 Super Bowl ad

About The Author

CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

The first commercial for the BlackBerry Z10 raised more than a few eyebrows.

(Screenshot by CNET)

Even in Australia, we get the concept of the Super Bowl ad — that short commercial slot watched by millions. They've become a form of commercial art, often talked about as much as the game itself.

Since the dotcom boom, tech companies have tended to dominate — e-trade's famous dancing monkey ad is 13 years old, but still remembered by many as one of the classic tech ads.

But BlackBerry's Z10 ad seems to be pushing the envelope just a little far. The 30-second spot is theoretically dedicated to showing what the Z10 "can't do". Such as set you on fire or turn a truck into rubber duckies, in what might be the only reference to the 1978 film Convoy to ever be in a Super Bowl ad. Or any ad, other than one for the 1978 film Convoy.

While it might superficially be more of an exercise in "cool branding" — like Samsung's ad about an ad — it's a strange play for BlackBerry. It would seem that the company might be better served by actually giving consumers a better idea of what its first new hardware and software in two years looks like and is capable of.

Comments on the ad from viewers, both via YouTube and CNET, included "idiotic", "bad", "fail", "the worst Super Bowl commercial in the world" and "ranks right up there with the average Microsoft commercial". There have been, of course, some more positive responses as well.

We've previously shown some concern over whether BlackBerry can make a splash in the smartphone market with BB10 and the accompanying handsets. We hope that the money spent on this misstep of an ad isn't too large a portion of its marketing budget.

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MarkM10 posted a comment   

A truly terrible advert!. I was seriously considering dropping my much loved HTC One XL for this phone, but I don't think the Blackberry's "features" are innovative enough to stop me having phone envy when the next batch of android phones hit the market!


HamzaM1 posted a reply   

You have no removable battery, no micro sd slot, poor battery life, a laggy keyboard are just a few reasons I'd be switching to a z10.

The Z10 is THE BEST touchscreen keyboard out BY FAR, it takes things to the next level, it's quite amazing how smart it is and how quick you can type (40-50% faster than other touchscreen keyboards). Not to mention all the other amazing features, the BB flow is so efficient, as is the phones performance the browser is THE FASTEST around (check the speed tests).

This is just a first gen phone as well, so there is so much more to come, including an update to dramatically improve battery life even more which will be out before AU release.


YueyT posted a comment   


It's 2 months before the product is launched in the US, and this ad is better served at piquing interest in the brand rather than going into specifics details. It's also 30 seconds long - how many details can you fit effectively into 30 seconds? This is the very start of BlackBerry's marketing campaign in the US and the ad was effective in creating awareness and interest in the brand. Over the next 2 months, marketing will focus more closely on specific features of the device and the BlackBerry 10 operating system.

This piece is clearly bias against BlackBerry - some objectivity would be nice in future.


HamzaM1 posted a reply   

Exactly right, it's called brand awareness for an unreleased product.

How funny is it that this ad was voted number 1 on the NFL website out of all the superbowl ads. It's sad how much bias is going on here, Australian consumers are really quite out of the loop and sites like Cnet fuel that.

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