The Imaginary Conversation Behind RIM’s Horrible BlackBerry PR Stunt

By

ACT I:

The scene: Friday, 4 p.m., a darkened conference room in Research in Motion's Waterloo, Ontario, headquarters. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, VP Andrew Bocking, and RIM's global head of PR are seated around a circular table, discussing the upcoming launch of BlackBerry 10.

Heins: Guys, we need to do something. BlackBerry 10 comes out in a few months, and nobody's excited about it.

Bocking: It's so unfair. I mean, look at Apple getting all this good press. Look at Microsoft — Microsoft, for Christ's sake! — getting good press.

PR Head: Well, let's think about what Apple does. They announce new products at big, flashy —

Heins: Leaks! We need leaks!

PR Head: What do you mean, leaks?

Heins: You know how that Apple employee got drunk and left his iPhone 4 in a bar, and then Gizmodo paid for it and it got millions of people talking about how great it looked?

Bocking: Go on ...

Heins: Well, what if we did something like that? "Forgot" a BlackBerry 10 in Waterloo somewhere where it could be found, and then had the tech blogs fight over who would get to post the first photos?

PR Head: I don't know, sounds pretty risky to have an unreleased phone floating out there. Also, what tech blogger would ever go to Waterloo?

Heins: Good point, good point. So maybe we do it somewhere in America.

PR Head: And maybe, instead of dropping the phone in a bar, we have the two of you use pre-release BlackBerry 10s in a very conspicuous, photographer-filled public venue?

Heins: I like it!

PR Head: Are either of you scheduled to go to America before February?

[Heins and Bocking glance furtively at each other.]

Bocking: Well there is ... this basketball game.

ACT II:

The scene: At this weekend's Lakers/Rockets game.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images