We know that RIM is doing its best, and that the tech media tends to exaggerate things just a tad, largely to make things sound more interesting than they really are quite frankly.
But RIM really does dish it up for us on a plate sometimes. The latest case in point is its Be Bold exercise, a supposedly “fun” infographic that has attracted ridicule from all corners.
The story goes as follows – we'll allow RIM itself to do the telling: “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.
“As we looked at the resolutions and the data, majority patterns and categories emerged. We decided to organise the data and share it in a fun way, and the result is the infographic.”
The result is a quartet of cartoon superheroes, each representing a perception RIM wants to be associated with (conveniently, they all begin with the letter A: “achiever”, “adventurer”, “advocate” and “authentic”).
That's all well and good, except the whole exercise was taken to be a new ad campaign – an altogether more fundamental perception problem – and RIM has been forced to clarify that “the infographic is just intended to be a bit of fun”. Seems the word “fun” means very different things to different people.
In the end, it simply reinforces the impression that RIM is a company that's not entirely sure where it's going.
New boss Thorsten Heins has already had to backtrack from what were seen as naively short-sighted comments in his very first address after taking charge, when he was interpreted as saying that not much needed to change in the company.
With that kind of backdrop, and still the best part of a year to go before the arrival of any hardware that stands even a remote chance of spearheading a recovery, RIM needs everything to be water-tight and on-message right now.
Instead we have this, an exercise in vanity that presumably took a fair bit of time and resources to put together, and that paints a picture of RIM as being “down with tha kidz” at exactly the time when it needs to redouble its efforts to shore up what's left of its business base.
As an aside, two of the Bold Team are named “Justin Steele” and “Max Stone”. Anyone else think those would be great names for adult film stars?