BlackBerry's Super Bowl Hail Mary

You'll see a commercial for the BlackBerry 10 smartphone during the Super Bowl tonight. Find out what is at stake for the company that helped to pioneer the category.

BlackBerry is using the Super Bowl to relaunch its brand in front of tens of millions of potential customers.

The launch of the BlackBerry Z10 and rechristening of Research in Motion as simply "BlackBerry" is a Hail Mary business play. So, it's only fitting that you'll be seeing a commercial for the newly rethought smartphone during the Super Bowl tonight.

The reason behind the new playbook is obvious: BlackBerry no longer rules ‘top-of-mind' in the smart phone category. Android OEMs and Apple gobbled up mindshare, and BlackBerry's market share collapsed from 20% in 2009 to 3.4% in December, according to researcher Strategy Analytics. Android and iOS devices have 90% share, and millions more users than RIM ever had back in its heyday.

All Things D's Walt Mossberg offered a blunt assessment of just how much is riding on the success of Blackberry 10, writing: "The Z10 and BB10 represent a radical reinvention of the BlackBerry. The hardware is decent and the user interface is logical and generally easy to use. I believe it has a chance of getting RIM back into the game, if the company can attract a lot more apps."

The apps will follow if it attracts new users (its once vaunted user base is just a mere fraction of today's market) - hence tonight's Super Bowl ad. Ad Age reports that BlackBerry is planning an aggressive ad campaign kicking off with the commercial, a 30-second spot will show an audience of tens of millions how BlackBerry 10 was completely reengineered and redesigned from soup to nuts.

A social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter will follow. BlackBerry has previously paid for a one-day takeover of The New York Times. It now joins a long list of technology companies that have made strategic bets on the exposure that a Super Bowl ad can deliver.

Here's a preview of some of the other commercials that you'll see tonight and a great recipe for 47 layer dip. *SmartPlanet is not responsible for the clean-up.

(Image credit: BlackBerry)

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