Blackberry

I should probably amend that headline to “did fashion kill BlackBerry as we
know it?”

I mean, I know what literally caused the situation that led to the sale of BlackBerry to a private Canadian consortium, and the probable end of its role as a handset provider: plunging profits and dropping share price. But those plunges and drops were due, in large part, as my colleague Matt Garrahan wrote recently, to the fact BlackBerry products were no longer cool – indeed laughable. 

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The news today that Blackberry was teaming up with Mercedes for some F1 branding because, RIM’s chief marketing officer told the FT, both are “at the beginning of a journey to reclaim the top position”, is interesting. But it seems to me, if this brand really wants to catch up with its competitors, especially Apple, what it needs is a creative director: a design mind, and, potentially, a famous one at that. Marc Newson, anyone? That would be a game-changer.

Jony Ive is not exactly a secret weapon: we all know how important his aesthetic skills were to Steve Jobs’ crafting of Apple’s identity and success in convincing consumers that electronics are actually fashion/luxury items. I never fail to understand how another company has not seen this and one-upped them by officially appointing a designer of their own.