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February 4, 2013

BlackBerry Z10 Super Bowl Ad Leaves Many Scratching Their Heads

But, Love It or Hate It, Commercial Is Creating A Lot of Buzz

BlackBerry Z10

Super Bowl XLVII left its viewers with three questions: Was San Francisco cheated out of a win by refs missing an obvious holding call in the final minutes of the game? Did Beyonce top Madonna’s performance last year? And, was that really a BlackBerry commercial?

BlackBerry dug deep into its coffers to cough up the $3.6 million to $4 million it costs for 30 seconds of air time during the SuperBowl.

Whimsical, fanciful, creative and downright weird are some of the adjectives being used to describe the ad which strives to show viewers the few things the Z10 can’t do.

The ad begins with a man exiting a store, playing with his new BlackBerry Z10.

As he continues to test the device’s new features, his clothing catches fire, then, with another swipe of the screen, he suddenly has elephant legs.

Another swipe turns the man into an explosion of multi-colored powder and then, after emerging from a man hole in the street, the man bravely swipes the phone again to turn a careening big rig into an explosion of rubber duckies, saving a group of terrified pedestrians.

“In 30 seconds, its quicker to show you what it can’t do … the new BlackBerry Z10,” the announcer says to end the ad.

Reaction to the ad has been mixed.  While some are applauding the creativity of the commercial, others say it simply makes no sense.

BlackBerry chief marketing officer Frank Boulben, in various interviews, said the commercial was inspired by the Fantastic Four — Marvel comic book characters and, because, it “wasn’t feasible to communicate the rich experience of BlackBerry 10,” in 30 seconds, the company opted for a humorous approach.

“We wanted to let America know BlackBerry is back and that BlackBerry 10 is worth checking out,” Boulben said in an extended version of the commercial now on YouTube.

“And there is no better way to do that than with a Super Bowl commercial.”

“BlackBerry ran a Big Game commercial on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013 — signaling that BlackBerry is back and, much like the brand itself, the new BlackBerry Z10 is re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented,” reads the description of the commercial. “BlackBerry CMO Frank Boulben gives you an inside look at the decision to run the fun and creative ad to show what BlackBerry Z10 can’t do. Now see what it CAN do here:”

Many continue to debate the effectiveness of the Z10 ad, but perhaps one commenter on YouTube summed it up best: “That ad wasn’t meant to bring back lost costumers,” writes Trevman1011. “It was meant to pique the interests of everyone watching it, and did it? Yes, I would say so…”

So whether people love the ad or hate it, the buzz it has created is a pretty good sign it was millions of dollars well spent by BlackBerry.