BlackBerry confirms it is behind ‘Wake up’ campaign

After much speculation, BlackBerry owner Research In Motion has confirmed that it is behind the ‘Wake up’ campaign, which has seen protest-style experiential activity hit Melbourne and Sydney over the past week.

'Wake up' protesters outside The Apple Store last week

The advertiser issued the following statement:

We can confirm that the Australian ‘Wake Up’ campaign, which involves a series of experiential activities taking place across Sydney and Melbourne, was created by RIM Australia. A reveal will take place on May 7th that will aim to provoke conversation on what ‘being in business’ means to Australians.

Yesterday, Samsung denied that it was behind the campaign, after media – including Mumbrella – predicted that the Korean electronics giant was responsible.

Wake up campaign at Bondi Ice Bergs

The ‘Wake up’ campaign is a local adaptation of BlackBerry’s ‘Be bold’ positioning in the US, which is designed to position the brand more as a consumer product and take on the likes of iPhone and Samsung Galaxy.

The campaign is being driven by ex-Vodafone and Xbox marketer Matthew Ball, who is ten months into his role as marketing director, Research In Motion, Australia and New Zealand.

He told Mumbrella: “We wanted to challenge the perception that BlackBerry is a device purely for business people. We want Australians to wake up to the idea that the line between the business and consumer worlds is blurring, and drive purchase intent for BlackBerry.”

Tongue took the strategic lead for ‘Wake up’, Starcom handled media, while Amnesia Razorfish did digital. Frank PR handled consumer PR while Spectrum Communications handled trade public relations.


  1. jed
    1 May 12
    9:09 am

  2. fail !!!!

  3. rob
    1 May 12
    9:16 am

  4. ill-thought through strategy to run a teaser style campaign for a brand that’s been experiencing a long painful decline and is therefore not top of mind……samsung got a free kick and RIM should get back to basics and not get sucked in by indulgent puffery like this.

    oh well, i guess at least they got to hang at icebergs for an afternoon.

  5. Seahorse
    1 May 12
    9:20 am

  6. It’s good the tagline is ‘wake up’ because the whole campaign has me dozing off.

  7. Michael
    1 May 12
    9:23 am

  8. Care to elaborate why its a fail Jed? I think we need to see more (I guess on May 7) to figure out the objectives and accurately assess the campaign…

  9. AdGrunt
    1 May 12
    9:26 am

  10. They should have run this campaign outside their global HQ, aimed at their senior management.

    RIP RIM.

  11. Ben
    1 May 12
    9:27 am

  12. Well it’s certainly the most curiousity anyone has had in Blackberry in a while

  13. Trish
    1 May 12
    9:44 am

  14. So glad someone is taking it to Apple!! Go forth and prosper Blackberry

  15. Logic
    1 May 12
    9:57 am

  16. Didn’t Moto try and do the same thing a few years back accusing Apple users of being mindless drones? These sorts of pleas/potshots surely can’t work can they?

  17. Jonathans minder
    1 May 12
    10:17 am

  18. Jonathan stop trying to do tease campaigns.

  19. Erik Veland
    1 May 12
    10:24 am

  20. Pathetic. Utterly pathetic.

  21. Erik Veland
    1 May 12
    10:32 am

  22. What’s hilarious that even with sleuthing by James Croft of MacTalk pointing the fingers at RIM, it was tough believing it was them. That’s a sad indictment of how irrelevant this company has become.

  23. richie
    1 May 12
    10:34 am

  24. what was the Digital element of this campaign exactly? maybe they made a Blackberry app?……….. i guess that would explain why i didn’t hear about it.

    Maybe you guys should concentrate whatever money you have left on making better phones? Like maybe move away from your dreadful proprietary operating system and go to windows or android. Just something that maybe you know….people make apps for?

  25. Squidy
    1 May 12
    10:36 am

  26. Blackberry used to be great phones, when they didn’t have much competition. However, since the emergence of Apple’s offerings and Android phones they’ve been well and truly blitzed. The sad part is they seem happy to rest on what used to be their laurels and not innovate or keep up with their competitors.

    It’s not due to people seeing BB as business phones, it’s with the emergence of the competition people realise they can do so much more with their phones and don’t want to settle for second (third?) best. People love installing a lot of apps, playing games and doing funky things with their phones. You need to look at why Apple and Google are so big on the market and then try to crack into that part of the market, not have a go at people in that market and tell them to “wake up”.

    BB have a good name for themselves, unfortunately they seem to think that people should now become excited over substandard phones when compared to their competitors. It’s a real shame, because as a company RIM could offer quite a lot to the market.

  27. rob alder
    1 May 12
    10:37 am

  28. Wake up to more consumption in an overstretch finite biosphere?

    No you wake up you morons, and start using ORIGINAL ideas to effect positive change away from insanity, and towards a completely upgraded version of sustainability without which the experiment in human intelligence is over.

    The misappropriation and exploitation of the ‘protestor meme’ is deeply offensive for those of us who are putting ourselves in front of the corporate bulldozers and frack rigs, and being roughed up by the enforcers of the corrupted state Corporatocracy.

    The world of advertising needs to do some serious soul searching about what it’s going to contribute to the survival of the species. Google: Fukushima, Gulf of Mexico synthetic microbes, Morgellons syndrome, ice shelf melt. Pinch your nose, clutch your stomach, and stick your heads down the rabbit hole…

  29. Patty
    1 May 12
    10:41 am

  30. It’s a breath of fresh air for blackberry. About time.

  31. richie
    1 May 12
    10:43 am

  32. hey @rob adler, this is a a blog about advertising, i think you were looking for a soap box. fuck off.

  33. TJ
    1 May 12
    10:44 am

  34. Not judging the campaign one way or another, but I find it a little strange that there is no info on the Wake Up website. Seems like a missed opportunity to not even give some information once people actually find there way there from Google. They do not even promote the URL on the advertising. With such a long time between some of the promotions (like the one at the Apple store) I would think some would loose interest.

  35. James Croft
    1 May 12
    10:49 am

  36. Next time RIM, don’t use a stealth teaser campaign with your own Doubleclick account.

  37. TJ
    1 May 12
    10:57 am

  38. Also just noticed the irony that this article appears just below one saying that Apple is Australia’s most reputable brand.

  39. Daniel G
    1 May 12
    11:00 am

  40. My sentiments exactly, Rob. To me, these mystifying teasers and annoying flash mobs (they are not “experiential activities”, RIM) generate only noise instead of talk.

  41. Daniel G
    1 May 12
    11:02 am

  42. (That’s Rob at Comment #2, not Rob Alder.)

  43. rob alder
    1 May 12
    11:11 am

  44. @richie that’s my point, perhaps you missed it…ps are you a copy writer, your style is so incisive…and the power of your argument, and your vocab…well I’m chucking my dictionary in the bin…

  45. Erik Veland
    1 May 12
    11:19 am

  46. Just for the record, BlackBerry is a product brand. RIM is the company. You wouldn’t say “iPhone confirms x” would you?

  47. Me
    1 May 12
    11:21 am

  48. You don’t become the world’s richest company by offering value for money.

  49. Anonymous
    1 May 12
    11:46 am

  50. do blackberry still use buttons?

  51. richie
    1 May 12
    11:47 am

  52. @adler, not a copywriter and I’m terribly sorry that i missed your very concise and relevant point, which if as you say was exactly what i said, then i can only assume that we both agree that you should fuck off. Now that we are friends maybe ill see you at the 99% rally in martin place? or maybe we could start a petition? Hey why don’t you check out my pintrest of how McDonalds treat animals? Or maybe since you are clearly my intellectual and moral superior you could show me some totally new and better way no be a smug non-contributing “activist” from the comfort of my macbook and ikea furniture?

  53. Mark Ilott
    1 May 12
    11:58 am

  54. I can’t see how inferring that because we’ve chosen other products we are asleep could possibly be a winning strategy?

    Correct me if I’m wrong more learned advertising types – but does belittling your potential customers usually win business?

    In my previous life as an IT services marketer I wrote to our customers about the impending death of Blackberry the moment the iPhone supported ActiveSync (in 2009 I think). At the time we were recommending the more limited Windows Mobile anyway, as it supported corporate email and enough security for most businesses without the complicated setup and additional costs of the Blackberry platform.

    RIM was a pioneer but failed to move with the times in a rapidly evolving market. The customers have always been wide awake, but it looks like RIM are still in dreamland.

  55. mister a
    1 May 12
    1:09 pm

  56. Can we give Richie and Rob A their own column?

  57. Rodd
    1 May 12
    1:20 pm

  58. It all comes down to whether the new Blackberry OS is any good, doesn’t it? If their comms objective was to put BB back in the consideration set alongside iOS and Android (Samsung) then arguably having people think Samsung was initially behind this stunt isn’t a bad thing; they’ve just simply restated who the two major players are and attached themselves as the third option. If the new OS sucks, then they will indeed have truly lost all hope of being relevant.

  59. andy lark
    1 May 12
    1:25 pm

  60. Good on them for having the courage to add spice to their brand and get people talking.

  61. GC
    1 May 12
    1:27 pm

  62. Pls explain.

  63. Conno
    1 May 12
    1:38 pm

  64. Teaser campaigns of any type are a sign of a stupid client and criminal agency.

    They don’t work – and even worse, mostly lead to misattribution – eg: people thinking it’s Samsung instead of whoever it was.

    If people outside of the ad world notice it – highly unlikely – then at best they’re most likely going to think it’s some other brand they’re mildly interested in.

  65. Danny
    1 May 12
    1:43 pm

  66. Richie, what the hell did IKEA do? Some of their creations are clever and very practical, very much unlike BB, the apparent focus of this article. I happen to know several grass roots activists who really appreciate space saving storage ideas with pleasing aesthetics.

  67. sylvie
    1 May 12
    1:45 pm

  68. if the idea of of a teaser is to create interest, impact and intrigue, they’ve done it.
    If many thought it was Samsung, current golden boys in this arena, and it turns out t be dear old Blackberry – they have positioned themselves well.
    Those who have pre-judged the campaign before it has started should maybe look at themselves – judgement without the facts is very poor judgement indeed.
    I’m rooting for Blackberry – good to see them not giving up without a damned good go at it.

  69. Erik Veland
    1 May 12
    1:58 pm

  70. *IF* the new OS sucks?

    Let me just consult my magic 8 ball here. *shake shake* “IT IS CERTAIN”

  71. zumabeach
    1 May 12
    2:03 pm

  72. Check out the Aquabumps surf reporting website from this morning. There was a speedboat going up and down the beach with a Wake Up flag hanging off it and no one gave it a second glance. Waste of time? But maybe that’s just Bondi – we’re a bunch of self-absorbed wankers down this way as the rest of the world regularly points out. More importantly, there are a few waves today and it’s offshore with the sun shining – wish you were here, not!

  73. Daniel Young
    1 May 12
    2:05 pm

  74. My thoughts exactly, Mark Ilott.

  75. Smoke & Mirrors
    1 May 12
    2:15 pm

  76. Still waiting for Rob A’s comeback to richie’s last riposte. He’s gone awfully quiet. Must be in a tute.

    RIM’s reveal next week better deliver or this will consign BB to the bin 4eva, although my B-in-law still madly taps away at his BB in favour of touchies. Niche markets won’t save them from oblivion though.

  77. YAWN
    1 May 12
    2:34 pm

  78. Love the positivity on this site, keep it up guys, you’re what makes this industry so great.

  79. rob
    1 May 12
    2:37 pm

  80. @andy lark this “get people talking” idea is BS if:

    1. all the talk during the tease phase is about anyone but the instigator
    2. once revealed all the talk is basically “they are shite”
    3. the only people talking are industry insiders and the rest of the world is walking by ignoring the activity because they couldn’t be stuffed guessing who is wasting all this money in secret

    There seems to be a distinct lack of judgement and awareness being displayed by client and agency in undertaking this kind of activity which is at odds with the positioning of the brand in people’s minds. That this has generated more backlash and snide remarks than positive comments is hardly surprising.

    It’s also not surprising that the head of marketing behind this has been in the job for 5 minutes……this is all spin, no substance.

  81. Blue
    1 May 12
    3:11 pm

  82. My main issue is… what exactly are we supposed to “Wake Up!” to? What are we missing out on by not having a BlackBerry?
    If it was a campaign for a plucky little underdog with hithertofore unbeknownst and fantastical capabilities, then fair enough. But “It’s not a device purely for business people”??? Hardly inspiring stuff.
    We knew that, indeed a whole cohort were using RIM for a while (mainly due to the BBM system, methinks) and it’s more that everyone *woke up* to slight compromises in keyboard size, for gains in almost every other area and went for an Android or an iPhone.
    I’d love RIM to do well, the architecture is great and (I’m led to believe) very secure, so I really do hope that this is the teaser for some awesome product innovation, or at least a campaign telling us all exactly what we’re missing out on.

  83. Erik Veland
    1 May 12
    3:25 pm

  84. Blue, they spell it out quite clearly what we are supposed to “Wake up” to:

    “We wanted to challenge the perception that BlackBerry is a device purely for business people. We want Australians to wake up to the idea that the line between the business and consumer worlds is blurring, and drive purchase intent for BlackBerry.”

    The BIG problem with this is that it is RIM that is late to this realisation. The rest of the world has blurred the line between business and personal use for their phones for years. And it’s the massive leap Apple took with the iPhone that finally broke this perception and with it RIM’s stronghold in corporations. Most big business now has a BYO phone policy and the businesses which doesn’t most employees are forced to carry a BB for business and an iPhone or Android for personal use.

    It’s this mindset RIM is so laughably, even tragically late to realise. It is really too late for RIM to hit back. It was too late for Microsoft – which arguably do have an excellent new fresh OS. And these desperate attempts at grabbing any attention – even hilariously negative attention (when has ever this type of insincere astroturfing improved brand image?) isn’t going to save RIM from its death spiral.

  85. Charlie
    1 May 12
    3:58 pm

  86. @erik – any research to back this up? – ‘Most big business now has a BYO phone policy and the businesses which doesn’t most employees are forced to carry a BB for business and an iPhone or Android for personal use.’

  87. Peter Wells
    1 May 12
    3:59 pm

  88. To be clear, I don’t think people who believed it was Samsung were gullible, I think it was only natural for everyone to think it was Samsung, because “Apple users are sheep” have been part of Samsungs marketing strategy for a while now. That’s why it makes no damn sense why RIM would run this campaign as a teaser, because of course everyone would assume it was Samsung..

    Also, for the record, I loved the film They Live, so it was depressing seeing it co-opted by this badly thought out campaign.

  89. Erik Veland
    1 May 12
    4:13 pm

  90. Blackberry Owner
    1 May 12
    7:12 pm

  91. Maybe it’s ‘wake up’ to how insecure iOS and Android are. I choose BB for its security and encryption. And no, you won’t find me on FaceBook either.

  92. Erik Veland
    1 May 12
    8:36 pm

  93. @Charlie, yes. But my list of links clearly didn’t pass moderation :/

    Google “Bring your own device” or “BYO phone trend” and you’ll find plenty.

  94. Peter Wells
    1 May 12
    9:03 pm

  95. @blackberry owner, an iPhone or Android phone connected to a Mircosoft Exhange server is arguably more secure than a blackberry over BES, buts that’s a discussion for another site…

  96. zzzzzzz
    1 May 12
    10:21 pm

  97. this ill thought out campaign should read ‘good night’

    no participation, protest meme against apple whom we all love is just wrong on all levels, its self indulgent, and god knows how much they spent marketing the marketing rather than the sure to be poor product experience

  98. Blackberry owner
    2 May 12
    7:38 am

  99. Peter, for email – potentially yes. And for browsing?

  100. rob
    2 May 12
    9:39 am

  101. What also springs to mind here is why clumsily “adapt” the US positioning of Be Bold, which is a confident and aspirational statement, into Wake Up which is childish and sneering (especially given the overwhelming market dominance of the Apple devices/owners it targets).

    What nugget of information did the geniuses behind this campaign have that suggested ditching the US positioning into this travesty?

    Imagine all these executions as Be Bold…….it’s a way bigger idea.

  102. Nick
    2 May 12
    9:49 am

  103. I think RIM needs to wake up to its dwindling bottom line. Cheap flash-mob tactics aren’t going to save the business. How about improving the experience of your dinosaur devices rather than wasting money on uninspired one-off ideas?

  104. rob alder
    2 May 12
    9:58 am

  105. @Smoke & Mirrors …in a tute over what richie replied? Not a chance…he upped his content valiantly, even though he still apparently didn’t get the point… I had to drive 3 hours back to my ‘dayjob’ after contributing a week of my time campaigning to stop the WA gov rolling out a massive deep shale fracking programme covering about 2/3 of the state, starting with the last remaining 4% remnant of the iconic WA wildflower belt. No idea where the majority of your readers are based, but it’s an Australia wide problem. We have shale not CSG like the east coast is battling with. It’s vey serious issue for all of us. See GASLAND the movie (ps. the whole planet is being trashed now on an industrial scale…do you have kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews?)

    I totally respect richie’s and other reader’s preference to keep the blog on advertising only. In this case my comment was about the misappropriation of the ‘protestor’s meme, just to sell product. Instead of exploiting our effort and risk, do a real campaign for an urgent issue please. The advertising industry can change the gameplan and the outcome for billions of people. What a gift …

    Many ordinary people, the very same people that the advertising industry depends on directing (as consumers) to their paymasters, are having to devote irreplaceable and often extremely costly hours and resources to stop their land, livelihoods, food and water security being absolutely smashed by mining and gas that has the LAW on their side to do that. I’m one of them. I didn’t chose to be. I invested much time and $s in a home and business in WA after grafting for 30 years mostly abroad (in design). In the space of a year our region has been given over to for the exploration of deepsea offshore oil, coal and now gas. Yesterday the CWA had their first protest rally in 90 years. Isn’t that an urgent ‘sign of the times’?

    What used to be an issue for ‘other’ blogs no longer is, and the fact that moderators of this blog saw fit to post my comment is proof of that IMHO. I don’t give a rat’s if Richie tells me to Fuck Off.. Even though the languaging is the lowest form of lazy invective, it just doesn’t even register on my scale of urgencies or priorities.

    I love advertising, it’s what I trained for. It’s why I subscribe to this blog. I have many many colleagues and friends deep in the industry, and they too are reaching a point in their lives where they feel the need to materially contribute to the protection and preservation of what’s left of this beautiful country that we call home.

    Thanks admin, and you many creative and contentious postors for a great blog..

  106. Smoke & Mirrors
    2 May 12
    10:45 am

  107. @ rob alder – I can see why you got out of adland – you’re just too bloody earnest. Probably a Capricorn.

  108. Bill Glenn Jr.
    2 May 12
    12:01 pm

  109. When people find out these were not real people engaged in actual protest but was instead a multi-national corporation trying to trick people into once again paying them attention, they are liable to be more annoyed than intrigued.

    RIM, you fell into irrelevance by failing to be innovative and letting Apple and Samsung pass you by. If you want people to “Wake Up!”, make a statement with your products, and hire an ad agency that communicates that message because this one is shit. It’s obvious to anyone with a lick of sense that “Wake Up!” campaign properly applies to you, five years ago, not Apple (or Samsung) today.

    But all this strays from the point I actually wanted to make which was to agree with @richie that @rob adler is his intellectual and moral superior. But your better at saying “fuck off” richie, so you always have that going for you. :)

  110. Peter Wells
    2 May 12
    12:58 pm

  111. @blackberry owner Well, iPhone and Blackberry’s browsers are built on the same Webkit technology, and offer very similar out of the box security and features. IT admins can then use Apple’s Configuration Utility (Free), or Profile Manager in Lion Server ($29) to limit websites, javascript, etc in safari to protect the end user even more, or use an MDM to even further lock down the device, or run the browser in a separate environment to the rest of the phone. So yes, as devices, iPhones are easily as secure as the Blackberry platform, hence them being approved for use by the Australian military last month…

    I’m not too sure about Android, but i know a number of MDM’s support both platforms, including RIM’s upcoming MDM, Mobile Fusion. That’s what RIM should be focusing on, not paying people to stand outside an Apple store.

  112. Crackberry
    2 May 12
    2:17 pm

  113. Note comment 30 from the CMO of Commonwealth Bank: “Good on them for having the courage to add spice to their brand and get people talking.”

    I feel some translation is in order: Courage = stupidity, Spice = confusion. And “getting people talking” only works if they are saying positive things, not “WTF?!”

    Can’t wait to see CBA’s new brand work given “Wake Up” is praised by their marketing leader. Now Wake Up CBA and pass on that RBA rate cut, you greedy c**ts

  114. Blackberry Owner
    2 May 12
    2:43 pm

  115. All very true Peter. Or you can do what I did and buy a BB Bold 9900 as I am self-employed. Damned good piece of kit. None of this extra overhead to worry about and more than does the job. I rest my case.

  116. sylvie
    2 May 12
    3:40 pm

  117. @zumabeach – do people still say ‘NOT” – hahahahaha

  118. Peter Wells
    2 May 12
    4:35 pm

  119. @Blackberry Owner, or do what i do, i’m self employed, using an iPhone with a free Google Apps email address at my own domain, connected via Exchange. Also no extra worries. :)

  120. Michael
    2 May 12
    4:48 pm

  121. Just trying to get inside the head of ‘a consumer’, which is what I am assuming this campaign in targeted at, not the big corporate market..

    Instead of “it’s not a device for business people”.. shouldn’t they be promoting the few clear advantages blackberries have over iOS/android phones? Reliability? Security? Business focused/good email and contact management? a keyboard that is generally considered much better and faster for composing messages and emails than a touch screen?

    Apple and arguably samsung ‘own’ the fun and app side of phones, so from a branding point of view, wouldn’t RIM be better off positioning themselves as the device for corporates/those who want to think they are important in business? Those perceptions of why people have a blackberry (corporate/email/important/security) are the very reason a few people still choose to stick with blackberries.

    Add in a few good features like a high quality camera, keep the build quality and (arguably the best) phone-function and people will consider it when making their next phone purchase. They’ll hardly create the anticipation and desire that leads to people dumping their iphone for an S model, but at least they will have their clearly defined market share, and they will own that market.

    Just my thoughts.

  122. Mark Ilott
    2 May 12
    6:23 pm

  123. @Michael
    I have to agree. There’s no point positioning straight up against iOS and Android, RIM have been there, done that and failed miserably. Microsoft/Nokia are in the same boat but have a far better consumer footprint to work from.
    In a few years time everyone will have a smart phone. Surely there’s a market for a more conservative version. Granted it will be a smaller market, but it beats oblivion.

  124. Blackberry Owner
    2 May 12
    6:52 pm

  125. Peter, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the disparate paths we take.

    I’ll remain cool with being secure, you can remain secure by being cool.

  126. Peter Wells
    2 May 12
    9:31 pm

  127. @Blackberry owner, Hehe, I’m not cool.

    But I’ve just gotten used to Tweetbot and Instagram and Instacast and Flipboard and Simplenote and iMessages thank sync to my desktop and Photos streaming back to my home computer and Plex so i can watch all my tv show anywhere and a UI that isn’t stuck in 2007 and Exchange not relying on BES through servers that can go down and cause international email blackouts and a company that’s been run by two bumbling CEO’s with differing visions for years and spiralling out of control enough that it would launch a campaign this terrible.

    We just have different priorities i guess. 😉

  128. Blackberry Owner
    3 May 12
    8:13 am

  129. Quod erat demonstrandum.

    And it’s a totally shit campaign in my opinion.

  130. Mosaic
    4 May 12
    12:14 am

  131. BB needs to take an offensive approach
    1. The main consideration is the strength of the leader’s position
    2. Find a weakness in the leader’s strength and attack at that point
    3. Launch the attack on as narrow a front as possible.

    and measure, measure, and measure some more then measure some more.

  132. Bill Glenn Jr.
    5 May 12
    1:15 pm

  133. Latest news: “Shares of Blackberry maker Research in Motion dipped to an 8-year low on Thursday, after this week’s demo of its make-or-break new operating system failed to inspire investors and tech gurus.”

    I don’t know how this happened given this cutting-edge synergistic marketing initiative!

  134. iknowsomething youdontknow
    9 May 12
    1:34 pm

  135. a little birdie tells me the early sales results show it might not be as dumb as I first thought…

  136. Erik Veland
    9 May 12
    1:43 pm

  137. Early sales results of a product that hasn’t been released yet??

  138. Mark S
    11 May 12
    1:20 pm

  139. New campaign called “Go back to sleep” now underway, this comments section closed for business.