BlackBerry 10 fan event in New York City - 'Sell like hell!'

BlackBerry fan events are always pretty amazing, but this one definitely rocked Times Square

By Adam Zeis on 23 Mar 2013 10:17 am EDT

Thursday night BlackBerry took to New York City to celebrate the US launch of the BlackBerry Z10. Before heading off to Best Buy at midnight, we got a chance to take in the festivities first hand and we have to say they did not disappoint.

The BlackBerry Experience took place at the Best Buy Theater in TImes Square. As soon as the event start, hungry BlackBerry fans filled up the entire venue. There was plenty of great BlackBerry chat, hands-on demos, photo ops, live entertainment and loads of of food and drink. It was honestly hard to know where to go at times since there was so much going on -- and as far as BlackBerry parties go this was definitely one of the tops to date.

After everyone was inside, Thorsten Heins took the stage for a quick pep talk - while telling everyone how excited he was for the US launch, he coined our new favorite BlackBerry phrase (slightly passing let's rock and roll this) when he said "Get out there and sell like hell!".  With the crowd pumped up and ready to go - Janelle Monae took the stage to get things started.

Janelle Monae rocked! I had personally never seen her live before, but I was totally sucked in as soon as she came out. She started out with some Jackson 5 and instantly won the crowd over. She jammed out for quite a while and the fans loved every minute. Her performance was amazing and definitely set the mood for the rest of the night. 

After a bit of a break so everyone could grab a fresh drink and some hanging pizza (yes, hanging pizza) rockers Young The Giant took over the stage and kept things going. 

Young The Giant

Just when we thought the festivites were winding down, DJ ZTrip pulled up on stage and cranked it up to eleven - hyping the late-night crowd as he soon brought out Questlove from the Roots. Questlove did his thing on the drums as the crowd danced it up and turned their late-night on. As they finished their last jam, DJ ZTrip pulled one out of his hat and surprise guest Ludacris slid on stage. 

What can we say? More rocking, more jamming, MOAR AWESOME. Bla1ze totally lost it at this point - he loves Luda. 

More Luda!!!

Not soon after Luda exited stage left, we rushed into some cabs and made our way to Union Square to see all the eager midnight BlackBerry Z10 buyers.

All in all it was a pretty amazing night. I can't really remember a BlackBerry event like this was went on for nearly five hours with such a great lineup of artists. It was most definitely a great way to kick off the launch of the Z10 here in the US and I'd do it all over again any day of the week. 

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

BlackBerry 10 fan event in New York City - 'Sell like hell!'


Seriously, "Get out there and Sell like Hell!" is easily the best CEO quote of all time. ALL TIME. Like there is no other quote better. :)

Remember when CMO Frank Boulben joined the company, a big part of his strategy was to get the phone in the hands of the fans and get them out there promoting the product... that's what I take away from Sell like Hell! It's on CrackBerry Nation to pick up our Z10s and demo them and show them off like crazy. I did that last night too... went to a Best Buy nearby and sold a group of people on it. Was fun :)

As for the Fan Event party... Awesome times. Thinking we need to make a CB fan meetup party happen here soon too.

Does getting in an argument with a Best Buy employee about them not having any type of advertising or even a demo out count? We should start a crowdfunding campaign, and award the proceeds to the top 10 BB10 sales reps (ranked by # of BB10 devices sold).

What state and city? Cause this happened to me in Nashville, TN! Completely UNACCEPTABLE! I took to Twitter to let them know about it, to which they apologized. You should too. Gotta' make our voices heard. #TeamCrackberry

I'm in the 'Ville too, I was pleasantly surprised to see an ad front and center on the entrance doors to several Verizon stores around the city. It wasn't much but it's the most BlackBerry advertising I've seen a retailer commit to since 2010. a BB Fan..but im more than honest; havent seen an BB Ad since 2008. They need to increase the Advertisement thing because i bet no everyone knows that theres a new BB. Bus/Bus stop, Trains, Subway, TimeSquare, Grand Central...they need signs everywhere tellin whats new!!!

Happened to me at the South Bay Center Best Buy in Boston MA. They even went as far as telling me the launch was postponed till Monday

I didn't get into an argument with the young lady, Just emphazied no blackberry love? No display units? Just made here aware of the fact.

Well, when I said 'argument' I meant relative to my usual interaction with sales reps (which doesn't involve asking them how they expect to sell an invisible product). In the end he found me colleague's Z10 to try, and I told him I hoped they will have it on display next week when I return to pick up my VZW Z10 (obviously he doesn't make those decisions so it'll be up to the powers that be)

That's easily one of the best ways to sell. Especially seeing how at&t wasn't doing any promoting one would expect for such a great device.

Sadly, I couldn't take the trip up. Last minute hiccup in my plans. I could have been Manny, lol. I ended up staying in CT to take care of my lady, and then was the first person in the Norwalk CT Best Buy to purchase the Zed 10. And yes, I called it the Zed 10 to the rep.

As far as a fan meet up, that would be pretty damn cool. Lord knows I'm lookin forward to it.

Posted via CB10

I heard carrying a gun is mandatory in Arizona to keep from getting abducted by drug dealers. Sounds like a lovely place.

Posted via CB10 from the BlackBerry Z10

That theater has somewhere around 1000 seats, maybe even a bit more. So if the place was packed or (almost packed). That is a great sign. I remember going to see Shaq's all-star comedy there late last year and my seats weren't the best in the house. But, they sure felt like it. No seat is a bad seat in that place.

Most were standing in the main auditorium and around all the different displays that were setup, each with people hired to show off a different feature of the phone.

I was there in VIP section. My side had 12 people at the peak (room for 50). I would have loved to have seen the place packed and more waiting outside to get in but unfortunately it was shockingly low turnout. :-( By the time DJ Z-trip came on there could not have been more than 300 people left in the venue.

The other BIG mistake I saw happening was all the Blackberry execs huddled together not getting out and mixing it up with the attendees. Not ONE exec made their way up in VIP. One of the big financial firms Mobile exec was with us and left the event disgusted that no one paid any attention to her where she's responsible for her Firms 150k+ device decisions.

It's the small things that eventually add up to a big disaster and I think Blackberry blew a good marketing opportunity they had with this event which no doubt was awesome for anyone that had a chance to attend.

If you know who the mobile exec was - you should try to forward it to Thor privately. They need to apologize and contact the exec. The problem with a lot of techno execs - is that they are not real salesmen. Canucks, a lot of euros are not good. Americans, Brits, Irish guys are excellent.

jealously written all over my face...looks like a fantastic night.

What's up with Kev's gangster sign? Is that the new sign for the Spark Street Crew?

Peace sign = palm forward, hand above arm.
Gangsta sign = showing back of hand, at an angle.

Yes, I'm a child of 70's hippie parents (included a mom with a WV bus with flowers on it).

Nice, Kevin! Keep rockin' it buddy -- you do us all proud (there is NO sarcasm there even though it kind of sounds like it...).

Sell like hell is right on the money... easy work though since the Z10 has pretty much sold itself to everyone I've shown over the past 5 weeks! One tip though... make sure rotation lock is on before you demo it for someone.

Posted via CB10

I hope Thor does more events like this beyond the Z10 release. I've seen interviews in which he comes stereotypically German so it's refreshing to see him smiling and enthusiastic.

I'm in Wisconsin and a Sprint customer, as well as a shareholder.
From what I've read, the launch was a bust at ATT, even sounds sabotaged. How about some non partisan facts to clear the "cognitive dissonance". I want BB to be successful, why else would I have bought stock over a year ago? My stomach dropped when I read the Yahoo Finance page on BBRY.
Tony Renier, Green Bay WI

This sounds awesome. But why are we reading this on Saturday morning? How many times did I check CB yesterday for some good news about the US launch only to find endless bad news? Why wasn't their symbolic "Global Creative Director" headlining the show? Why wasn't it webcast to the world? Why wasn't it splashed all over the media on Friday morning for the launch? Why wasn't it streamed to Best Buy and looped on all of their showroom TVs yesterday? Why was there one and only one blurry picture of the lineup to get into the Best Buy theater? Even if NONE of those people bought a Z10, they're lining up to attend a BlackBerry event! Use that! Why, why, why do I love BB but want to scream at their full budget but less than half-a$$ effective marketing efforts?

ALL VALID POINTS! You hit it on the head my friend. BB needs a lot of work when it comes to marketing and events.

i think thier marketting is brilliant,rolling it out all over the world before the US,what were you expecting a love in.that,s why kevin is there i gues to make goodie goodie

If you think their marketing is brilliant, then you should probably take a look at the competitors who have been beating BB for market share for the last couple of years.

No i didnt..millions didnt watch that...thats the point...hahah wow...BB users are so blind...that sucks...Admins are too because Kevin thinks BB10 is the best from all time even with the lack of apps...hahaha!! i will hate untill i see what a smartphone company would do these days. SORRYYY!!!

+..more than positive...Have u noticed that when someone say something about Apps or BB is slow in Marketing/Ads...even the admins are quiet :) hahaha!

I've been following the comments on StockTwits (I'm also a shareholder + Z10/PB user) and it seems like the AT&T stores have minimal (if any) signage promoting the Z10. Does AT&T have a dealer agreement with Apple that forbids displaying/promoting a competing product ?

Then the complete garbage that was broadcast on Friday afternoon on CNN and CNBC about how Apple is the best thing on the planet and the Z10 was like a speed bump. BB stock price nose dived after that broadcast started. CNN covered themselves legally by claiming these are "opinions". In the show credits it mentioned that Apple Media was a sponsor of their show. Kind of explains the attack on BB.

I'm looking forward to the 28th when the earnings report is released. Hopefully that will reduce the anti-BB garbage that is out there.

The CBC National News last Sunday had a segment where 3 "experts" were giving their opinions of the Z10 and it wasn't terrific. At the end of the show the host (who is a BB user) asked if any of them had used a Z10, they all said no. They just formed their opinions from what they had heard in the media. I fired off a comment to the CBC about their choice of "experts".

Sorry for the rant. But I hate it when people claiming to be experts haven't got a clue.


I haven't seen enough marketing in the US and that is going to hurt them. I was the one and only person that pre ordered from the Best Buy and I was the only sale. I really love the new OS and want BlackBerry to succeed. They HAVE to work on the marketing and show everyone who has been living in a hole that they are back in the game!

Posted via CB10

Can I ask how is this an fan event if you had to be invited? How does Blackberry know who r fans and who r not? This was far from a fan event, more like a party that only a select few chosen by blackberry went. U have an open event to the public and then you will see REAL fans come out...

From what I saw (and a bit of what I heard) it appeared that the majority of the invitees were salespeople responsible for selling the Z10. I suppose they could have been salespeople from Best Buy, Target, Walmart, etc. A fairly eclectic crowd, but it seemed to go quite well. The mode of dress ranged from worn jeans and old ball-cap, to full business suit with power-tie. Also, the entertainers were appropriate for the audience in attendance, to my thinking.

With Janelle and Questlove rocking for BlackBerry, it would be great to get some Official Sonos support since those two are also hustling for Sonos.

I know there are some decent third party apps... but looking for official support

Posted via CB10

Wow that looks so fun, they should have had something like this is Toronto, but I guess it's because NY is the consumer capital of the world.

I was there in VIP section. My side had 12 people at the peak (room for 50). I would have loved to have seen the place packed and more waiting outside to get in but unfortunately it was shockingly low turnout. :-( By the time DJ Z-trip came on there could not have been more than 300 people left in the venue.

The other BIG mistake I saw happening was all the Blackberry execs huddled together not getting out and mixing it up with the attendees. Not ONE exec made their way up in VIP. One of the big financial firms Mobile exec was with us and left the event disgusted that no one paid any attention to her where she's responsible for her Firms 150k+ device decisions.

It's the small things that eventually add up to a big disaster and I think Blackberry blew a good marketing opportunity they had with this event which no doubt was awesome for anyone that had a chance to attend.

If I was running the big financial firm you're talking about, I'd fire this exec. Buying technology for your firm's 150K+ people based on whether you've been treated special and not because the devices are the best for your company's needs? If you're there to check out devices for your firm, do it. The party is an added perk.

Sorry, but BB is the one that needs to courts companies and users, not the other way around. When you are in the drivers seat you can do as you wish, but when you're on the bottom looking up you need to do EVERYTHING you can to make headway.

It is starting to appear that they need a much more aggressive marketing push. Their marketing has been so so at best. The Superbowl ad was not good. There was a company from Toronto (Pixelcarve) that did a mashup on youtube for the Z10 and it smoked the $4 million Superbowl ad. Maybe time for some people @ BB marketing to get a kick in the pants. That being said I am telling everyone that asks that it is the best mobile business device I have ever used. I hope they can get more people to share that thought.

Slide 13 does appear to have been taken in one of the Time Shift demo areas, where they were doing pictures (telling people to blink, etc), then would fix each face in turn (displayed on a large screen for all to see), offering to MMS the picture to each of the participants phone numbers once the fixing was complete. I had one done, the four people in my party we each left with a smiling, open-eyed image. Overall, a pretty good demo of that feature.

I can't believe ludacris was there, good to see American artists supporting a great Canadian company

Posted via CB10

It was a great time. I rocked all night. And o got to meet Kevin and blaze. Didn't see Adam. Where were you? Lol

Posted via CB10

I believe every single celebrity was paid to go there, otherwise why should they go?. Just being informed that BB has a good partnership with carriers (And them hating Apple) but not supporting them in launch day means BB has no power left and their marketing team sucks. Whenever you go to a store, there's no demo unit, if there's it'll be broken or doesn't work. I think they need a lot of work there. BB should start selling devices on their own like they did with PB. Apple does that.

A visit to byte ATT store in the Lehigh Valley Mall - no signs, one Z10 on display way in back - salesperson had no idea what the Z10 was and no effort into selling it

Posted via CB10

Its so nice to see America getting the same star studded 5 hour event as the UK and Canadian launches /s

This event sounded AWESOME! Wish I could have been there.....Sounds like. Mr. Heins' statement to "sell like hell" is a good rallying cry for all of us Crackberry fans. Each of us can be an ambassador for the company-show off the products to our friends and neighbors. We can all ensure the continued success of BBRY.....
Long live the RIMpire!


After a bit of a break so everyone could grab a fresh drink and some hanging pizza (yes, hanging pizza) rockers Young the Giant took over the stage and kept things going. [/quote]
I love how none of us who was actually there has anything good to say about the performance by Young the Giant. "Kept things going" is the best that can be said, and it's perhaps overly-generous...

Visited At&t store at a mall in NH...Z10 was all alone at the end of the most remote display in the store. Not one poster etc. announcing its presence!! I played with the phone and was very impressed...much more so than any of the employees. BlackBerry people need to address this lack of store advertising right away...

On Friday I called AT&T in Northern CA, The employee said next week they would have the Z10. I said "the launch was supposed to be today???" She said "Oh wait, I'm having a Senior moment. Yes it's here." I got to the store, and yup it was like it was just another phone in the line up. The sales rep was pushing an iPhone to this woman as I was viewing it....Gorgeous phone, still waiting on the Q10 though.

Wish we could have been there for all the fun & festivities! We bought the last three phones at our local AT&T store. We walked in expecting lots of advertising or at least large poster of this awesome device, but were quickly disappointed. The sales guys couldn't even take the device out of demo mode!! WTH! My husband quickly gave the sales rep a lesson on "all things Z10", thanks to all the information and videos on crackberry. We've got to join together to make sure BlackBerry 10 "Sells like hell!" and "Stomps Ass!!" in the long run.

BlackBerry 10 "Stomps Ass!!!"

Being New York City most of the people in attendance were probably looking for a free buffet not the BlackBerry Z10.

By marketing standards the US launch was anti-climactic with only one wireless carrier ready to sell the BlackBerry Z10 to consumers. From the postings in the forums most of the foot traffic in the AT&T outlets was eager CrackBerry members wanting to handle the smartphone but not buying from AT&T because these folks are still waiting for Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile to sell the newest BlackBerry device. The venue was a BestBuy not even an AT&T outlet. BlackBerry learned nothing from the first launch event coincidentally held in New York City.

Posted via CB10 from the BlackBerry Z10

Sounds great, with some great talent... But a key blackberry "employee" performer was absent... what does Alicia Keys do exactly? Isn't she on the payroll now? (Roll eyes).

lewis hamiliton is and he was on the podium today ,but that damm railing cut out bb's logo quite a bit. all in all it was great exposure for bb.and everybody relax, we just got out of the starting gate, deep down inside we all know bb will be just fine .we are in good hands.

The Fan event was indeed awesome. I met and spoke with Thorsten myself, and got some pics of the two of us together to commemorate the meeting. I saw the BBRY CEO standing in the VIP area for some time on at least two occasions during the live show. Any Exec in there had only to put out their hand as I did, to get some face time!
Of course a highlight of the night was meeting and chatting with none other than Kevin, himself! Got a great pic with you, Kevin - which includes a masterful photobomb! I'll get a copy to you sometime soon. It was great seeing you and the team there!

Posted via CB10

that photo bomb you mentioned,cld it be from the app fx my friends and i played golf last year and one of them had it,he kept bombing the golf cart,it was hilarious and i can,t seem to find it on my Z10.can u pls help me locate it ,thks.

The photobomb in question was done real-time as the picture was taken. I *think* it was Adam... the facial expression is, shall we say, exaggerated!

Posted via CB10