You know your marketing department misfired when you have to issue a clarification on your corporate blog that the silly cartoon superheroes unveiled in a bewildering infographic are "not a new ad campaign."
But that's what Research in Motion had to do after the Internet unanimously mocked "The Bold Team," a quartet of costumed superheroes created to reflect the delusional (and, in many cases, no doubt drunken) resolutions tweeted by BlackBerry users on New Year's Eve.
Here's the update on the blog post, which was originally posted last Friday:
We’ve noticed The BeBold Team has received a lot of attention over the last couple of days, and wanted to clarify – this infographic is just intended to be a bit of fun. On New Year’s Eve, we asked BlackBerry Twitter followers and their friends to submit their resolutions on how they plan to Be Bold in 2012. More than 35,000 resolutions streamed across Twitter, Facebook, and giant billboards in Times Square. As we looked at the resolutions and the data, majority patterns and categories emerged. We decided to organize the data and share it in a fun way, and the result is the infographic. This is not a new ad campaign.
Good thing, because I'm not sure Gogo Girl (The Achiever), Max Stone (The Adventurer), Justin Steele (The Advocate) and Trudy Foreal (The Authentic) will resonate with anyone not routinely watching The Cartoon Network while their mom updates her Facebook Wall.
On the other hand, maybe preschoolers are RIM's new target market. Why not, since the adult demographic is slipping through its grasp.
But even when RIM is trying to have "fun," its inherent stodginess shines through. For example, the description for Max Stone says he's "tough, proud and little wild." You know, like your CEO who always loosens his tie after a conference call. Yes, that wild!
Fortunately, we "can count on Max to face any challenge." (Presumably including plunging smartphone market share.)
Then there's "The Authentic," Trudy Foreal. (Wouldn't it be better to have named her "Truly" Foreal? C'mon, RIM interns!) Trudy apparently is "not afraid to call it as she sees it," yet is "unabashedly charming."
I'm skeptical of the latter description because my experience with people who are "not afraid to call it as they see it" -- i.e. self-indulgent big mouths -- generally are lacking in the charm department.
Clearly RIM is a bit rattled by the negative reaction to The BeBold Team. I think the company should not only stick to its guns and keep the characters alive, it should leverage the foursome's admirable traits and name them to the board of directors. After all, could the cartoon characters do any worse than the real people?