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RIM's New Marketing Play: College Humor

Research In Motion pins its future marketing hopes on

Eric Zeman

March 9, 2012

3 Min Read

RIM plans to fight back. It's not going to take the hard beat-down it's received from the likes of former customers, current customers, journalists, and analysts anymore. Rather than use (the absolute lamest?) cartoon superheroes and campaigns that charge customers to "Be Bold," RIM is going to aim even lower.

Whenever you're in the mood for a laugh, one destination on the World Wide Web that pretty much guarantees the guffaws is CollegeHumor.com. As the name implies, it's not exactly the most "PC" of websites, and much of what you'll find there is, shall we say, sophomoric.

Example: The top content items on CollegeHumor.com Friday are videos titled "Very Mary-Kate Jail: Mary-Kate deals with life in the slammer" and "The Fresh Price of Downtown Abbey: A rags to fat cash story, courtesy of Victorian aristocracy and Will Smith," and articles titled "Be Our Bachelor" and "Sexual History Carfax."

These original videos and sarcastic articles are typical entries from the humorists at CollegeHumor.com. Don't be fooled into thinking this is just a couple of guys in a dorm room somewhere cranking stuff out. The production values of the videos will surprise you.

[ According to our exclusive survey, RIM has a big challenge ahead. Learn more in IT To RIM: Your Best Days Are Behind You. ]

Apparently this risque content is what RIM has decided might be best for its marketing image moving forward. The BlackBerry maker has hired Amir Blumenfeld and Streeter Seidell from the site as part of a new marketing campaign it plans to use to target the youth segment called "The New 2012 Challenge Council Project."

RIM appears to have suffered through enough smack talk from customers, the media, and analysts. Blumenfeld and Seidell are being tasked "to shut down BlackBerry trash talk once and for all." RIM encourages its fans to "check out their bios and sign up to be the first to know when these guys start putting BlackBerry naysayers on blast."

Both Blumenfeld and Seidell have pretty large followings online, and they appeal widely to Web-goers in their teens and 20s. This is a critical segment of the market that RIM needs to win back. RIM has lost some visibility with younger users who see smartphones from Apple and Google as having more cache or appeal. Though Blumenfeld and Seidell haven't produced any results, surely their skits and articles will stir up a modicum of interest once they hit the Web.

Despite RIM's need to rebuild its street cred, what it really needs to do is win back the enterprise. Businesses and governments are flocking to Android and iPhones and ditching their BlackBerrys in the process. With its core market at stake, RIM needs to execute on delivering better smartphones.

Windows is currently a nobody in the tablet market. That could change with the release of Windows 8, the first version designed for touch screens and the tablet form factor. With the new Metro user interface, Microsoft will try to serve both tablet and desktop markets. Can it succeed? Find out at our Byte webcast, What Impact Will Windows 8 Have On The Tablet Market?. It happens March 14. (Free registration required.)

About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman

Contributor

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

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