You may remember the peculiar "WAKE UP" marketing stunt pulled by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion about a week ago in Australia. If not, here's a quick refresher: a big black bus emblazoned with the phrase "WAKE UP" on the side pulled up outside an Apple Store in Sydney and disgorged a crowd of black-clad protesters who stood outside the store shouting "WAKE UP" and holding black signs that said (you guessed it) "WAKE UP."
Initial blame for the stunt - which most agreed was pretty ridiculous - fell on Samsung. After all, Samsung is Apple's biggest competitor, and has a history of ripping Apple in its commercials. Samsung, however, denied having any part of the stunt. A little more digging pointed a finger at RIM.
After another day or so of speculation, RIM confirmed that they were, in fact, behind the campaign. They promised that the counter on the Wake Up Australia was leading up to a "reveal" that was designed "to provoke conversation on what 'being in business' means to Australians."
Well, that counter was set to expire yesterday, May 6th, and RIM's big "reveal" is now available for your viewing pleasure. What is it, you ask? Is it a new BlackBerry 10 smartphone? The PlayBook 2? Some awesomely impressive business-related service that will bring RIM back from the edge of ruin? Well, if you were to head over to the original Wake Up Australia website today, you would be redirected to a different site: wakeupbebold.com. Once there, a speech given by a man with an Australian accent starts playing and scrolling up your screen. This grand speech, it turns out, is RIM's big "reveal." Check it out below:
It's time to mean business.
Now before you go looking for your suit and briefcase, we're not talking about that kind of business.
Business is no longer just a suit-wearing, cubicle-sitting, card-carrying kind of pursuit.
These days being 'in business' means you're the kind of person who takes action and makes things happen.
You don't just think different... you do different.
It's a simple choice:
You're either here to leave your mark and eat opportunity for breakfast
You're satisfied to just float through life like a cork in the stream.
Now, we know some people will choose to float on by and that's fine.
Being in business is not for everyone, but unfortunately... there is no middle ground. You're either in business or you're not.
For those of us with our eyes wide open, we need to realise there's only one device for people who mean business... the brand that's been in business from the very beginning.
Wake Up. Be Bold.
Yep. That's it. Clicking pretty much anywhere on the page after that takes you to BlackBerry's Australian website. No new products, no major announcements, no persuasive rhetoric about why BlackBerry is better than the iPhone or Android, no actual facts about RIM's products at all. Just that speech, with it's not-so-subtle dig at Apple ("You don't just think different..."), and a link to a BlackBerry website that is almost identical to the one that was up on Friday.
It's hard not to be unkind about this whole stunt, because frankly, it's pretty ridiculous. RIM has sunk unknown thousands of dollars into a PR stunt that is almost guaranteed to accomplish absolutely nothing. RIM's problem isn't that people don't know their products exist, and it isn't that people don't associate their products with business. If that were the problem, then this campaign might have helped. RIM's problem, though, is that the products they make are considered passé and inferior to the iPhone (and Android). That can't be fixed by a pointless PR stunt. If this had been the lead-up to the launch of the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone, it might have made sense. But it didn't lead up to anything. It's just a little spiel about how business-y BlackBerry is. Heck, if they had even linked to a page that talked about why, specifically, BlackBerry was better for business than the iPhone, even that might have been something. But they didn't do that either.
Ultimately, it's hard to imagine that this little gimmick actually accomplished anything at all.
What do you think of RIM's Wake Up campaign? Does it make you more interested in using BlackBerry products? What does it accomplish? Let us know in the comments.