back to article BlackBerry rejected Justin Bieber as brand ambassador

Struggling mobe-makers Blackberry knocked back the chance to have pint-sized pop prince Justin Bieber as a brand ambassador at the peak of both RIM and Bieber's careers, claims a senior Blackberry staffer. The fresh-faced Canadian pop heartthrob asked for $200,000 and a fistful of free handsets to represent RIM, but the now- …


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  1. Simon Harris


    (see title and repeat until it hurts too much)

    That's the funniest thing I've read since Dabbs's toilet blackout story (that was very funny too!)

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "This kid might outlive RIM.” Everyone laughed

    Don't think they're laughing much now.

    Don't care for Bieber myself, but it does seem like a missed opportunity.

    Of course, on the other hand they could have taken him up on his offer and been ridiculed anyway. I suspect that Blackberry was much too entrenched in corporate suit-land to take on such an ambassador. They probably thought it would taint their "professional" image.

    Well, bankruptcy taints your image a lot more, doesn't it ?

    Ah, hindsight.

    1. Miek
      Thumb Up

      Re: "This kid might outlive RIM.” Everyone laughed

      Not a missed opportunity at all, Bieber is a PR liability nightmare and an ignorant idiot. RIM are sensible for giving him the finger.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: "This kid might outlive RIM.” Everyone laughed

        Not just an idiot but an ignorant idiot?

        1. MrDamage Silver badge

          Re: "This kid might outlive RIM.” Everyone laughed

          "Not just an idiot but an ignorant idiot?"

          Correct. He is ignorant of the fact that his village is missing him dearly.

  3. Moffy

    They should have got in One Direction.. and brought out a pre teen/early teen friendly mobe at the same time.. less tech and a free song download every month (courtesy of Rim) of the PAYG contract..

    Might save them from their own direction

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One Direction

      Yeh, downhill, rapidly.

  4. Steve 39

    BB BB BB

    1. Anonymous Coward
  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    RIM didn't Beliebe in the tiny tantrum?

  6. Hieronymus Howerd


    Never heard of him.

    1. AceRimmer

      Re: Who?

      I hadn't heard of Vincent Washington either

      1. Shagbag

        Re: Who?

        ...or Alexandra Burke or whoever they ended up settling with as their 'Blackberry Ambassador'. No Ferrero Rochers for BB this XMAS.

  7. Moktu

    Sod Bieber

    BB need to get the Z30 into EE's greasy hands, so I can buy one using our technology fund.

    It's either that or bifocals, The gits!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    1. RISC OS


      A chance for 3 companies to team up: an advert featuring bieberry in burberry with a blackberry.

      1. cjpatten

        Re: Chavtastic

        You sir, are a genius!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't

    I wouldn't let my company be associated with that little douchebag either...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wouldn't

      New Blackberry Bieber edition, with built in spray can for those impromptu graffiti sessions.

    2. Johan Bastiaansen

      Re: I wouldn't

      Yeah, you're probably in marketing. Or a manager of some sort.

      Listen genius, it's not about what you think, it's about what the customer thinks.

      The customer, you might have heard from him.

      He's the guy who's money we're after. Well not you of course, you're egotripping. But us, the working people who try to keep your company afloat. By making money for the company. And we still realise where that money is coming from: the customer.

      1. J__M__M

        Re: I wouldn't

        "Listen genius, it's not about what you think, it's about what the customer thinks..."

        " And we still realise where that money is coming from: the customer."

        Well I guess it doesn't always take one to know one, because in this case the customer is 10 years from their own contract, so the customer is actually the customer's Mom & Dad. And Justin Beaver makes Dad want to puke.

        But thanks for keeping all us dummies afloat, Mr. Sales Guy

        1. Michael 28

          Re: I wouldn't

          ....won't someone PLEASE think of the engineers?

  10. RISC OS

    RIM probably thought their sales chances we already low enough without the need to drive them even lower!

  11. Gunda

    One of many

    The incident just shows how short sighted the top brass had become by then. One bad decision followed another. Organisations usually recover from one or two dumb decisions, but RIM made far too many of them, and continues to do so today. Somehow they must have thought that it was the name 'RIM' that was causing the slide in their fortunes, so they named it Blackberry. Instead of hopping onto another OS in time, they continued to waste time on their garbage. All this tells you something. It is the fact that when a company starts doing well, incompetent fools start populating the top echelon. The downfall begins but is masked by market growth. This growth eventually slows and a tipping point is reached. And once the fall begins... rescue becomes almost impossible. Not a very different story to Nokia, a giant of around the same time.

    1. Daniel B.


      I'd say that Nokia is a special case. They were in the peak-but-starting-to-fall phase and had the hindsight to know they needed to choose a new CEO and change their direction if they wanted to avoid crashing. Unfortunately the CEO they chose pushed the yoke straight down and sent 'em faster down to the ground!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nokia

        Nokia are not a special case at all, very similar situation to BB and Ericcson. These phones became popular for a reason; excellent design, reliability, etc etc. Then the shareholders / owners get greedy and so start to hire management consultants to tell them how to mushroom as major Corporates. Once they do that they lose the essence and some people of what they were originally. This can be fatal, it's like the butterfly effect, one small change can create a massive unseen impact. No need to continually grow and expand, why not just have a medium size business which keeps on being profitable but not necessarily growing too much, or even at all, can just tick over very nicely thank you.

  12. jai

    "Justin Bieber! Nobody f%$king neeeeeeds yaaaa...."

    Any listeners of the Hollywood Babble-On podcast here?

    Every week for months now they've had some story about how the Beiber is increasingly tarnishing his previous "cute kid from Canada" image.

    While RIM's fortunes have taken a turn for the worse and the comment “This kid might outlive RIM” may yet prove valid, there's a good chance that having used him as their marketing campaign would have accelerated the company's downfall.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Justin Bieber! Nobody f%$king neeeeeeds yaaaa...."..."You're just a little..."

      Love Hollywood Babble-On, don't love Bieber!

      Garmy Strong!!!

    3. BrownishMonstr

      Re: "Justin Bieber! Nobody f%$king neeeeeeds yaaaa...."

      tarnishing his previous "cute kid from Canada" image.

      Well, I'm sure at some point artists don't really want to be seen with kids any both meanings.

  13. Nick Davey

    Crystal Ball much?

    "Despite its CEO's recent claim that "reports of our death are greatly exaggerated," Blackberry posted a loss of almost $1bn in Q2 2014." Can I place bets on this figure? I'd love to know the future of the financial markets.

  14. sisk

    Blackberry had to have already been in decline if Beiber was already popular when this happened. The kid hasn't been around the red carpets all that long and the beginning of the end for BB was 7 years ago.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one...

    that read 'Pop Prince' as Pop Ponce?' (which I think is a far better description for Justine

  16. Mtech25

    What phone does the bieblier one use now?

    I want to make sure i am using a competitors phone.

  17. JDX Gold badge

    "Give me $200,000 and 20 devices"

    Why on earth would you want 20 devices rather than the money to buy them?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Bieber's days in the limelight were numbered"

    Aren't they?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think not even Beiber could rescue our yoof from being borged by iPhone!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aligning with Bieber would have been a good move until about a year ago..

    ..until the prick got all 'Lindsay Lohan / Kerry Katona' on everyone and started behaving like the self-indulgent, self-obsessed, highly offensive twat he really is. At this point they became a PR liability rather than an asset to the brand.

    1. Mtech25
      Thumb Up

      Re: Aligning with Bieber would have been a good move until about a year ago..

      Your right, his pr firm needs to take him down to the woodshed and then say to his remain fans that he is now living on a large farm with lots of space where he can run and play all day... of course if they did this before start his career it would of saved a lot of trouble.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Aligning with Bieber would have been a good move until about a year ago..

        Trouble? I don’t see any trouble. I see the little twerp getting free publicity all the time. Acting like a jerk or prima donna (sp?) or hard ass seems to get too many people’s names all over the news/internet for FREE. Most of these idiots don’t produce anything except hot air. Maybe that is the new free marketing avenue that the marketing departments are flinging now...

        Paris is in the same league...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They got this one right

    Bieber is a joke and just a marjeting freak show. His days are numbered so Crackberry got this one right.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: They got this one right

      So instead they have hired Burt Bacharach to promote themselves as a stable reliable corporate platform

  22. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    Thumb Up

    Made a good choice...

    They made the right choice! They would have folded much quicker with him involved.

  23. CBN

    They posted a loss in 2014? No they didn't...

    I'm sorry, but I don't know which timeline you tried, but I've just come back from the future and, by Q2 2014 there was/will be no loss. BB goes/went bankrupt in Q1 2014. There was/will be rumours that they tried to save the company through some dodgy software demanding 2 Bitcoins...

  24. theblackhand


    Not only could RIM have crashed and burned but they could have had a terrible soundtrack to do it too?

    1. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: So...

      Not only that, but their associated ad campaign would have gotten the tweenies parents up in arms, as it would have shown the twat rubbing a Blackberry up against what is allegedly his genitalia whilst sing "Oh Berry Baby"

  25. Tony Green

    To be fair...

    ...if they'd accepted, then it would have deterred anybody who wasn't a pre-pubescent girl with an IQ in double figures from using a BlackBerry. So it may not have been such a bad decision after all.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: To be fair...

      Yes because corporate CTOs and the NSA looking for a mobile platform secure enough for, say, the president of the united states are mostly swayed by which teeny-bopper also uses them?

  26. Tempest8008

    No, no,

    Wrong direction entirely. Bieber for Blackberry? No...just no.

    Blackberry should have ignored the hype and hyperbole and marketed itself solely and wholly as a business communication tool...and continued to upgrade and improve its infrastructure, security and management tools.

    End of story.

    They should NOT have tried to compete in the popular handheld market where CRapps and games and being able to watch movies on your phone were of paramount importance.

    If they'd stuck with their core brands and message they would have been fine, and I'd still be using one at work.

  27. Vociferous

    Not sure I'd want my company associated with Bieber.

    He's pretty much only known for scandals now. Pissing in public, insulting rape victims, doing drugs, being filmed in bed by a Brazilian hooker...

  28. Johan Bastiaansen

    Marketing eh?

    I've never met anybody in marketing who isn't a complete tool.

    When sales are good, they take the credit.

    When sales go bad, they blame the salesguys.

    In our society you're f*cked when you actually do something.

  29. si063


    Made my day, a very expensive RIM job, hahaha

  30. aqk

    Blackberry posted a loss of almost $1bn in Q2 2014

    WOW! And it's still only December 2013

    THAT'S the spirit, lads! Think ahead!

  31. unitron

    If he was that big a fan of them...

    ...why didn't he put a big chunk of his income into buying up their stock?

    He could have been in a position to tell them to hire him.

    No, seriously, there's some logic in there somewhere, I promise.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: If he was that big a fan of them...

      "why didn't he put a big chunk of his income into buying up their stock?"

      His mommy still only gives him $10 a week pocket money. He could buy a fair bit of stock for that I suppose, but that would take away money he could use to buy Barbie dolls.

  32. HMB

    Funny Story But...

    It is a funny story, but it's an amusing side anecdote. Marketing only works when the product does too. They may well have caught up, but.... perhaps too late.

    It's like my Nan quotes from Shakespeare:

    "And enterprises of great pitch and moment, With this regard their Currents turn awry, And lose the name of Action."

    It's very unusual she quotes from Shakespeare, I guess the quote must have particular resonance for her.

  33. J__M__M

    former Blackberry bigwig did not say when Bieber approached RIM.

    Don't need pictures, but do need a date. Beiber went from stupid kid to stupid gazillionaire kid in about 8 months flat.

  34. Mosspower

    I tend to think this was a loss for BB. I didn't catch when Bieber approached them. But if it was any time late 2011 up to now, then with the direction they where going they should have taken him on. They wanted to compete with the popular handheld market. I don't know too many kids today even in Waterloo who think of BB first when they go get a handset. Why should they. Even with the bad PR Justin gets now, and also received then, it would have got them noticed. Further he would have been noticed with the BB's meant for more casual usage. He might have been seen as a fad, but he was seen far and wide for all the kids who where in high school and walking into College. That's when I got my first phone was at that age. Most do. However I can see where BB's views would have made them cringe. It would have destroyed them as a business tool, unless they marketed that brand as separate.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Give me $200,000 and 20 devices, and I’m your brand ambassador.'

    "Give me your wife and £500, and I'll teach her to play the pink oboe."

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    JB Rim Job

    Only RIM job I would like Justin Bieber to receive, is from a baseball bat and a empty tube of loob !

  37. Chairo

    Blackberry posted a loss of almost $1bn in Q2 2014

    Talking about hindsight...

  38. Sheep!

    Pint for the best headline in a while :)

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really really?

    BB makes a loss? next you'll be telling me apple don't have any money...

  40. PV person

    RIM job

    I think that's borderline disgusting. You have many young readers who don't know what a rim job is (let alone the older ones!), and you are polluting their young minds.

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