London firm behind the best ad of all time takes BlackBerry to the Super Bowl

The London firm behind RIM's Super Bowl commercial also created this "best ad of all time"
By Adam Zeis on 27 Jan 2013 08:59 am EST

The buzz this weekend is all about just what BlackBerry's upcoming Super Bowl ad will be. Will they go funny? Artsy? Harp on other companies? Show off features of BlackBerry 10? It's all up in the air right now for us as we wait and see just what will happen for that 30 seconds on February 3rd when we're all glued to our televisions, anxiously watching whatever it is that BlackBerry shows off. 

To get somewhat of an idea as to what we might see, we can look to the ad firm behind BlackBery's first ever Super Bowl commercial. The London firm Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO will be taking the reigns and hold the responsibility of making BlackBerry 10 shine on the biggest stage of the year. AMV BBDO has created some very memorable spots over the years including the memorable You're not you when you're hungry Snickers campaign and was also behind this ad from BlackBerry, which arguably was one of their best to date. 

Perhaps the most well known ad to come out of AMV BBDO is this ad for Guinness from 2002. An amazing 60-second spot that was voted the "best ad of all time" in a poll conducted by Channel 4 and The Sunday Times. 

Of course, when you think "greatest ad in the world", there is also one other ad that comes to mind. This gem from Apple that also aired during a Super Bowl, in 1984. It was directed by Ridley Scott and, for it's time, pushed limits as far as they could go. It wasn't a typical electronics commercial for that era but consumers loved it and it instantly became a sensation.

We have no idea what the BlackBerry commercial will hold in store, but we do know that we're pumped out of our minds to check it out. Frank Boulben and Thorsten Heins have done some amazing things with BlackBerry in the last few months so we can only hope that this is one more step towards a bigger, better, new RIM.

Source: Cantech Letter

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

Reader comments

London firm behind the best ad of all time takes BlackBerry to the Super Bowl


Had never seen that Guinness ad before. Very cool. So interested to see what they do. I hope not embarrassing like some of the past half assed efforts.

Something like that Guinness ad isn't going to work for them at this stage.. good as it may be. That kind of ad for a well known brand that people already understand. It shows nothing of the product and does nothing to inform people.. its just "hey remember me, sure you do.. you should buy some tomorrow"

Even that "do you" blackberry commercial.. It's great..I love it.. but that's a 6months+ after launch when the phone is proven great... everybody knows about it.. make them feel like an idiot for not having one.

For a new product launch, especially for a brand that let's face it is tarnished. They need to strike a balance with this commercial that shows off the new product, show's something amazing about it that people didn't know to build interest in the product itself rather then the brand and somehow keep the cool factor in there to make it a memorable Ad people are talking about for weeks..

I'm thinking along of line of video of the the z10 doing a few amazing things like BBM screen sharing and maybe some other things we haven't seen yet but that just look really cool and will make people say wow.. what is that? but the video is taken from an angle as to not show off any blackberry logo's.. the uniformed masses are thinking wow.. this must be a new iphone coming or or something, so cool! Then the screen fades to black.. and words come up in white..

Re-designed. Re-engineered. Re-invented.

The all new Blackberry 10.. like nothing you've seen before.

And then a call to action to look up BB10 on social media or something..

/end scene.

The point is the agency did know its audience, so they likely will get it right. Keep in mind that it was done in 2002 as well and it is no indication of what their current body of work is.

The thing about Super Bowl commercials is that it's about all the buzz the next day on who had the best commercials. You will be talked about a lot more if you really dazzled your audience while going up against other advertizers in a showcase opportunity. Its not necessarily the time to make a hard sell... it's time to be noticed.

I wasn't making a negative comment on this ad agency.. just voicing my vision for what the ad should be. I have no doubts they can do it.

I actually liked everything that you said but if I had to change one thing it'll probably be the ending.

The all new Blackberry 10.. like nothing you've seen before.
And then a call to action to look up BB10 on social media or something..

Instead of that how about just the Spark logo and then fade out. There's going to be at least one person in every room that knows exactly what the spark logo is so someone will yell out "Damn that was a BlackBerry?!"

No.. the idea is to not show it while they're checking out the phone so as to not have people walk away saying I don't care about that, I'm an apple or an android.. keep them guessing about what it is until they realize they want it.. THEN.. MAKE SURE.. they know it's a Blackberry.

I know you'll disagree with me but what can RIM honestly show off in 30 seconds that will make an iOS or Android user say "I WANT THAT!" Not the hub, or the time shift camera, or the app library etc. I know the BB10 still hasn't been announced yet and that we still haven't seen every single feature but I think it's safe to say RIM isn't going to announce anything "revolutionary" come Wednesday or next Sunday. RIM should just take this opportunity to remind everybody that BlackBerry still exists.

Your idea has been done before - and wouldn't work. It's way to obvious and fodder for the fan boys to knock down.

If you watched the Apple ad it didn't show anything about the Macintosh computer. It made people think they could be unique if they bought Apple. No one wants to be a drone (even though in the end most of us are).

The Guinness ad was remarkable because people remembered the brand and associate it with positive experiences. It wasn't designed to work on the conscious mind, it was designed to be there at the back of your mind at the bar when you are thinking, "What beverage should I buy". Unless you like to drink while surfing.

You can't get across the power of a device in a 30 second commercial and you'd be crazy to try.

The goal is to re-brand BlackBerry as "cool" - or to reinvent the brand in some other way.

I'd be very surprised if they show much about the device. RIM has a problem with perception. They're no longer perceived as cool. How to re-engineer that perception is the challenge facing the marketing guys. They need something very different and directly targeted to a North American audience if they want to be effective.

We'll luckily neither of us are designing the ad, but I truly hope those who are, are not of the same opinion as you.. I do understand what you're saying.. those iconic nothing about the brand all about cool commercials do resonate.. but in this instance it just won't work that way.. if they don't use the ad as a chance to get something remarkable about the new phone in front of the masses it will be a total waste. They could have the coolest commercial in history.. everybody could love it and talk about it for weeks.. if it doesn't inform them the new blackberry's are out and they do things you don't know they do.. people will love the commercial, but go no further.. they'll see the blackberry logo and say, oh.. that's from blackbery.. cool commercial, but that's outdated tech. What we need them to say is WAIT! THAT WAS A BLACKBERRY?? I didn't know they did that! And then start googling..

But you're a smart phone expert - or you wouldn't be posting here.

Truth is most smart phones (even BB7) can do 99% of the stuff we need them for. I don't feel particularly deprived with my 9900 for example - but then I don't play games.

Think about someone in your family who has a contract with say AT&T but who isn't really that knowledgeable.

You could show them BB10 multi-tasking and blowing iOS away in the browser stakes, but it wouldn't mean a thing to them.

Getting those people to switch is about persuading the carriers to sell the phones to them. And that's about giving BlackBerry a positive perception in the market place so that the sale becomes easy.

They could create a positive impression of the brand by showing footage of RIM supporting the US military, or a worthy charity.

Doesn't have to be the device. In fact showing the device is boring unless there's something truly exceptional to display. So far I haven't seen anything that really blows away the competition - even though I know the OS is light years better than anything else on the market.

This rivals some of the top nike, adidas, and under armour ads out there... This is an absolutely disgusting company.... Just you wait... Save up your semen... Because you will definately want to annihilate your urethra with it when you see the ad..

No joke

Crackberry house doesn't do drugs and alcohol, they get pumped by talking about potential commercials lol. Awesome

I'm fully expecting a kickass comeback story theme. Even Thorsten Heins referenced Muhammad Ali's legendary 8th round come back in an interview last week. Its at the superbowl, a huge sporting event so it fits in perfect. Also perfect to show people blackberry is not dead, and were back better then ever. Everybody loves a comback story.

30 seconds is hard though, thankfully they hired some good people to come up with something. If they do go with a comeback theme I hope they play it like blackberry is already back and won. Not were on our way back up come support us. People like a winner.

Just thought of something. A football game, with a team behind useing there super fast, get shit done blackberries to communicate there come back. All the way from the owners box to the couch to the guys on the field, everybodies got a blackberry. If anybody wants my idea you can have It for a couple Z10's!! Lol

I can't wait to see it. I hope it'll get posted to the net seconds after it's aired in N.America. We BB fans in Sri Lanka want to see it!

Awesome. Three days and counting! Followed by another 3 +1 to see what awesomeness has been cooked up by these guys. The single-most important product launch in Canadian corporate history is about to happen! Leave nothing on the table. Go ALL out! Looking forward to it!!

"they better spend 30 seconds showing the product"

Frankly we're the last people they need to sell to. We're posting on Crackberry so don't need to be sold. Our ideas are therefore of little value.

Many Americans think BlackBerry is out of date.

The ad company needs to persuade the USA to give BlackBerry a second look. That's what they'll focus on.

They need an ad exactly like the Guinness or Apple ads. Something that suggests to the average US citizen that BlackBerry will make their lives more meaningful in some way.

Doesn't mean they won't use shots of people using BlackBerrys, but I doubt it would achieve the objective.

Br14, I think you hit a nail on the head - yet blindly without realizing it. You're VERY first 2 sentences explains this.

We're posting on Crackberry, we already KNOW about the product, and we already KNOW about the brand and what it stands for.

RIM is doing this ad for Brand Name Recognition and Re-Building its brand.
Reason: Analysts, defectors, fans of other platforms have ALL got a sour taste of the BlackBerry juice (brand) and a major ad to change those thoughts, appeal not just to existing customers (techies like us in the know), yet also to others that just are happy with their BBs and go about their lives getting it done, communicating, living, etc.

EVERY major SuperBowl ad in the past 10 years has shown the BRAND first and foremost - very few actually show a product or a service. Products change TOO quickly due to market trends, customer outroar/needs/demands ... you don't waste $3 million dollars to show off a product/service only!

McDonalds, E-Trade, etc all show the brand ... sure a product/service is mentioned if its a staple of mainstay that will not change for years to come ... yet RIM's product lineup will. Its to SEED the brand and what it stands for into the minds of those attending or watchin the SuperBowl ... and highlighting the brand, vision, and direction of the company is something that lasts in the minds of people MUCH MORE than a product. Remember Samsung, Apple, and many others will be highlighting theirs as well.

Pepsi, Coca-Cola and a few others are the ONLY one's successfully with spending THAT much spinach for 1 event of advertising that pays off on the bottom line! Why? Because irregardless of the many versions of Pepsi/Coke that is on the market ... you can STILL get the original of BOTH at ANY store, in just about ANY country at ANY time! The Brand IS the product and the company and thus will NEVER change the original!

Marketing 101.

It's what we call a big bowl of chili. It really is specifically from one chain of restaurants but people use it to describe all big bowls of chili.

Its when you eat a "Super" large "Bowl" of anything from chicken wings to buffalo burgers, and then sit down to watch the American Football finals. No, I'm just kidding, its the last part thats right.

* BlackBerry by choice *
I'm WAY more excited for this commercial than the Super Bowl!
I know it will be there but I don't even know who is playing this year.

The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. The season ended for me last weekend when my Patriots lost. -_- I'll be watching it for the BB commercial this year

BTW the People Who do ad was brilliant and I'd love to see them use that as a part of a follow up suite of ads running in the weeks, months after launch. But I think the Super Bowl ad has to show the hardware too in some way and as T.Jasper has pointed out it should also drive people to participate in the social media aspect of the marketing campaign. 3,2,1.......

They should redo Apple ad, with nice white surrounding and on screen there should be bald, bearded guy in turtleneck talking about amazing things. Look what you have became, pity you.

I love it, it's angry. The new RIM add needs to be angry. It needs to say that we are back and we are pissed off.

Wow...I realize that this is NOT going to be THE ad, obviously....but if this ad played during a Super Bowl, it would create ZERO buzz (other than from the alcohol) among an American working-class audience. It would result in about 5 seconds of awkward silence, followed by blank stares exchanged amongst the viewers until one wouldboldly exclaim, "What the F*** was THAT?"
Yeah, if there is one thing American males are comfortable with, it's a bunch of scantilly clad men grabbing and laughing and wrestling with each other on a steamy beach...yep....
I'm really concerned that this company will be able to "get" my fellow Americans. I guess we'll know in 7 days

Wow, are Americans really that homophobic? I guess that why it's Speedos in Europe and surf shorts in America.

Its been proven that people who are homophobic are erowsed when they see men in things like this, that's why they feel uncomfortable. I didn't even notice the speedos. This commercial made me want to take up surfing, looks badass!!! Guess I'm adding a trip to tofino this summer lol ironicly ill be bringing a nice lager with me the beach, guiness failed in the commercial.

Another Guinness ad had two men kissing. Not my cup of tea, but I do drink the occasional Guinness.

One thing is certain, they got noticed. Which was after all the aim. As with the surfer ad.

I wouldn't worry too much. Whatever they show will be targeted appropriately.

They should have the "here's johnny" clip from The Shining (jack nicholson, kubriks version) and inside the bathroom is a terrified hipster. What's an iphone?


in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

LOL the ad itself is excellent, though, it's rather old style.

The ad so good especially by the fact that by the end of the commercial, I was wishing I had a pint right now JUST before the ad revealed guiness

They need a commercial that shows RIM rising from the dead - preferably with a Bruce Campbell cameo. ... ... if only...

Having an eerie flashback to that moment when "Surfboard" was briefly floated as a moniker for the new BB10 phone.

I expect the ad to focus on "re-engineered" and "re-invented" and to show us how. No speedos required for that, (unless we can post our status updates while we surf because the phone is waterproofed).

Don't they block the commercials on super bowl up here in Canada - we get stuck with "canadian content" or something stupid like that? We probably won't even see the new BB ad

This is also the agency that did the terrible "flash" commercials. While there is potential here, this could also go very, very wrong...

Ad agencies generally only go in the direction that the company is telling them to take. Jim Balsillie was the CMO at that point and he clearly is not a marketing guy. I think this was the direct result of that mess....

While the subject of that advert was poorly chosen, I thought that the series of playbook adverts including that one was actually pretty good with the choice of music complementing the message too.

I loved the BlackBerry ad more than the Guinness one.

"There are people who don't. And people who do."

It needs to be an ad that says "We are back and here to stay". Something that will seduce people who left BB to come back, reminding them of why they loved BB years ago and how they could get that feeling back through the new RIM. The best ads connect with audiences on an emotional level. Look at this Guinness ad. Not until the very end do you finally see the product, but the surfers are striking and eye-catching. The iconic Apple ad didn't even feature the product at all. 30 seconds can be enough time as long as a company knows their target audience well and how they will best respond to the message they want to convey. Apple did it in the 80s by saying "We are unique individuals and not slaves to comformity." Now it's our turn to say the same message in what I hope becomes another timeless, iconic ad.

I just can't wait till the Canadian broadcast cuts out the awesome Blackberry commercial with shitty Canadian Tire and Chevy 'Like A Rock' ones.

I record all sporting events. Then I watch them later and skip over annoying commercials. I can usually watch a football game in about 1/2 hour instead of 3 to 3 1/2 hours it usually takes.

So I guess I won't get to see the BB commercial. Not that it would matter anyway because I don't buy stuff just because it's advertised.

Lets get PSY doing his dance and texting at the same time ..... or maybe get the BlackBerry Princess involved.

Adam, good article and I too am looking forward to BB10 & the ad BUT it is reins not reigns (that is what BB & RIM will do)

Despite what the naysayers are going to be saying, I can't wait to see the ad. :D

I never watch commercials, EVER... But I'll watch this one. :)

It might not be clear from the article, but BBDO did not do the 1984 commercial for Apple. It was Chiat/Day. Apple only later switched to BBDO.

Once Steve Jobs came back Apple went with TBWA/Chiat/Day again, who produced some other very well known campaings like "Think Different", the iPod silhouette ads and "Get a Mac" (a.k.a "I am a PC, I am a Mac").

As much as I loved Apple's 1984 ad, it's worth remembering that it didn't actually do much to sell computers.

The original Mac was a sales flop, bad enough that it was the main reason Jobs was pushed out as Apple CEO.

Did you know that ad actually played 1x in the SuperBowl and one other time on a local station in Twin Falls, Idaho as a paid advertisement. Most in the States saw that Ad exactly one time as paid advertising, it was only played on the local station so it could be eligible for some awards.

For having been played one time (for 99% of the population) in paid advertising it's had a tremendous effect on folks who if you saw it at the time, you remembered it like you saw it many times afterwards, because, you probably did by folks citing the ad as WOW!

It is proof positive that a good ad can have lasting effect on a company's perception.

BTW when the Apple BOD saw it before it was aired - they hated it.

Cute Bllackberry "Do" ad, but can be insulting if the humor is missed or if the viewer has a low sense of humour. Also, one has to quickly associate the message with the images---this one requires analytics to note the left is non BB and the right is BB, not likely to happen real quick w superbowl viewers drinking beer and partying. Blink and you miss it! No one will be speaking about it. The ad needs to be witty, non-insulting while showing-off BB10 and QNX. Kind of like the QNX careers ad on youtube:

Build on the awesome theme: BB10 users are awesome, the platform is awesome, the users are awesome and the future with BB10 is awesome!

I'm sorry to say that its not gonna be a single ad that (re)-defines RIM. Its gonna take putting out a solid, well thought out, platform (hopefully BB10) to convince others that RIM can still be "cool".

This platform MUST have an ecosystem and run as good or better than what's currently grabbing consumer $. If it falls short ...I'm afraid to think of what may be.

Hoping for the best!

I just hope that the ad will not be something like what Samsung do to bash Apple. The first few ads are funny but as they keep doing that, the concept has become ridiculous for me. RIM must show that Blackberry has a class of its own with appealing yet elegant ad.

I agree. The products of other companies should not be a part this ad. The last thing they need is MORE advertising especially on RIM's dime. BB10 stands apart, unlike any other, designed from the ground up as a unique, individual computing device to enable you to do things in a way that nothing else allows you to.

The funny ting about the Apple ad is that it portrayed Apple as breaking free to be different when in fact Apple is exctly a company that is aimed at fully controlling your life and making you exactly the same as eveyone else.

RIM whatever you do make sure these people show as much of BlackBerry10 possible in those 30 seconds. Make it intense!

Now that I've thought about it some more I really don't think the ad will accomplish anything. What features/apps or hardware can RIM really show off that will persuade anybody to buy a BB10 phone? I hate to be negative and I hope I'm wrong. Our big day comes on the 30th!!!