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BlackBerry reinvents itself with the help of a new AOR

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Having lost the majority of its casual business to its more successful rivals, BlackBerry is looking to resurrect itself as a business brand, and is hiring a business to business agency to help make the transition a success. After a comprehensive pitch, the company settled on Gyro as its global agency of record to help promote its new “Passport” handset, the first handset released under CEO John Chen. Gyro, who take the reigns from previous BBDO, will also be responsible for communicating the brand's renewed focus on enterprise software and services. According to Robert Glen, senior director of global brand marketing at BlackBerry, Gyro were chosen due to the agency's “Flexibility and international scope,” and its previous work on campaigns for HP and SAP. The agency, who acquired French competitor Ailleurs Exactment last week, will spread the BlackBerry work across six global offices.

After a comprehensive pitch, the company settled on Gyro as its global agency of record to help promote its new “Passport” handset, the first handset released under CEO John Chen

The appointment arrives at a time of significant change at BlackBerry, who recently shook up their leadership in a bid to reshape its focus, with Chen tapped to essentially help bring the struggling company “Back from the dead.” Mark Wilson, the senior vice president of marketing at BlackBerry, said “The number one objective is making BlackBerry synonymous with work,” distancing the brand from the more entertainment-focused smartphones produced by their competitors. The shift in focus will hope to build upon the success of the Passport, which sold 200,000 units in just its first week. Analysts are also predicting a bright future for the company's software and services, which accounted for more than half of its revenue last quarter.

Official BlackBerry Passport Unboxing Video

Christopher Becker, Gyro's CEO, calls the appointment “Any advertisers dream,” calling BlackBerry “The most relevant brand when it comes to mobility in serious business.” He said that “BlackBerry understands serious business,” and believes that “Being able to bring back a beloved icon like BlackBerry is the best job ever for an ad agency.” The campaign, which has been dubbed “Work Wide,” focuses on the Passport's broad screen, which has been built with functions such as email and document reading in mind. The pitch doesn't try to convince consumers to replace their smartphones, but instead posits the Passport as a “Work phone,” that can work alongside an iPhone or Android “Play phone.” This is a very smart move indeed, as it keeps the company out of the crosshairs of Apple, Samsung and the other highly competitive smartphone manufacturers.

The campaign, which has been dubbed “Work Wide,” focuses on the Passport's broad screen, which has been built with functions such as email and document reading in mind

Rebuilding the BlackBerry name is not going to be easy, especially as many businesses now allow their workers to use their own personal smartphones to the office. There's also the small matter of Apple's recently announced partnership with IBM, which will see them building apps specifically tailored to enterprise, the very market BlackBerry will be attempting to monopolise. Glen is confident, however, that Apple and IBM's partnership simply “Reinforces,” the fact that “Enterprise is a great market to be in.” The campaign is being pitched as a comeback story for the brand, something Becker feels will work in their favour, because, in his own words, “Who doesn't like a good comeback?”

Official Gyro Website

Official BlackBerry Website

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK whose very first smartphone was a BackBerry Curve.

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