Blackberry's irresponsible social advertising

A startlingly unhelpful TV commercial manages to both undermine Blackberry's enterprise credibility while apparently encouraging personal activities on company time

The above AT&T BBDO US TV spot for Blackberry Torch 4G smart phones, which I winced at during San Francisco 49ers NFL games last year, neatly encapsulates the fears many business managers have about their staff's digital 'social' interactions. A manager instructs staff to post baby videos, play fantasy football, participate in online games, check in on foursquare and listen to music on their new Blackberries before turning on his heel and leaving the office, to save you watching 30 seconds of video (which close to a million people have viewed on YouTube).

This AT&T messaging makes my work around effective use of modern collaborative tools inside businesses that much harder and demonstrates a lack of understanding- perhaps intentionally - of Blackberry's core business, which has historically been primarily secure email and voice communication in the enterprise.

RIM, the Blackberry manufacturer, continue to be excoriated in the financial press for lack of management focus, and it takes some doing in a red hot smart phone marketplace to run ads celebrating goofing off at work, ironically the achilles heel of these modern collaborative tools. I'm amazed they allowed AT&T to run this advertisement for their product.

Presumably AT&T's Bold smartphone ad is aimed at individuals and not the guys in unified communications and IT tasked with provisioning smart phones to the workforce. On all sorts of levels the TV spot demonstrates the tensions between our personal uses of technology (the 'smoking' break to check Facebook and catch up on personal business on company time) and the job you pay someone to do, supplying tools that are fit for purpose to work together more efficiently.

As we break through from puberty into the early adolescence of the socially networked world we will hopefully see an end to these types of uninformed and unhelpful pieces of mass communication messaging, which blunt the effectiveness of vendors attempting to shape and define more efficient business collaboration...