BB is cool, but…

Incoming for our friends at Ogilvy in Cape Town (and belatedly blogged), the results of the the Sunday Times Generation Next 2011 Brand Survey, conducted by HDI Youth Marketeers.

This is a hugely useful survey for companies wanting to market to young people, with loads of results for what is “cool” according to the more than 7,200 youths (aged 8-22 Julius, ok?) questioned in the survey. Toothpaste to Comedians, DJ’s to Fashion, it’s all in there and it’s making me feel old.

One thing that did stand out was Blackberry, which came top of the “Coolest Cellphone”, “Coolest High Tech Gadget” and – most interestingly of all – “Coolest Brand Overall” categories. This is conclusive proof that something doesn’t have to actually be very good to be very cool.

Blackberry phones, when compared (rationally and unemotionally) to other smartphones on the market (i.e. iPhone or Android) are actually pretty rubbish, but they have BBM, as Jason Levin, managing director of HDI explains:

BBM is the archetypal ‘killer app’ – it’s one of the best examples ever of intrinsic functionality driving demand for a cell phone … or any device for that matter.
BBM turned the Blackberry, originally a smart phone used for business purposes, into a cool-tool for youth.

And he’s right. Because if that’s all you want from your phone, then BB is the one for the job. And while BB users are desperate to have the functionality and stability of other phones, other phone users would kill to have BBM. Fortunately, it might not be long before that happens. And if/when it does, how long before the “killer app” effect wears off for Blackberry?

Good news for BB then and many of the other brands in there who will be hoping to get their hands on the R95bn that the under-23 market spends in SA each year.

Disclosure: Ogilvy sent 6000 miles… a Goodie Bag containing products from many award winners and nominees. (But no Blackberry)

15 thoughts on “BB is cool, but…

  1. It is interesting to note that every Nokia phone for the last 5 plus years has featured an “Instant Messenger” application preloaded on it. Samsung too I believe have now launched something similar as well. Yet the cellphone networks have steadfastly refused to allow it to be used. Clearly they value their income from SMS’s too much.

    Personally, BBM may save some money, but since it’s not actually free (BB contracts are normally more expensive than their standard counterparts unless you find a convenient special), and the phone itself is the biggest load of crap ever made (don’t ever drop a BB…or let your 9 month old near it), it’s nowhere near enough to convince me to get a BB. For me, I’ll stick to my Nokias for the moment (although the switch to Windows Mobile (if I remember rightly) may well force me elsewhere eventually.

  2. This argument I have with a lot of people.

    BBM is not an app.
    It is a service, a service exclusive to a particular device.
    That device integrates that service perfectly in to its platform as it does with other services (BIS/Push email etc)

    This integration is unprecedented on any other device.

    A good comparison would be like if one type of phone had SMS and none of the others had it.

    Also what is a crap phone ? Really… Blackberry have been making smartphones for years (they invented them) and some are better than others but they all work.

  3. Well, it wasn’t just BBM for me to be honest. It was in fact the BIS. I would never have gone for the BB if it weren’t for the fact that I was terrified of getting the Desire HD or Galaxy S and having some app chow all the money on my phone or run the bill up depending on the option I took. Using the wireless connection isn’t always possible after all.

    I would love to have the lovely world of android open to me with more interesting apps than my BB can offer but practically, it made more sense to get the BB just to make sure I didn’t screw myself.

    Other than from an apps perspective though, I haven’t been disappointed with my BB at all. And I don’t even use BBM :/

  4. Emil > Facebok is the SA version.

    Gary > Your experience with BB sounds like my (wife’s) experience with BB.

    Craig G > Fair point. But “killer service” sounds nowhere near as good. And yes, BBM is brilliant for BB users – I think that’s the point. Whether it’s good enough to overcome the shortfalls of the BB device generally, I’m not so sure. Evidently, for the youth, it does.
    For those for whom BBM is not a necessity, but a useful tool, I’m not so sure.
    Mrs 6k is very unhappy with her BB – it’s flaky, it’s unstable, the apps are crap etc – she will move to a different device as soon as she can. BBM won’t hold her to a BB.

    T > That’s only because you don’t know what you’re missing! The money thing is big – maybe that is what attracts a lot of older people to BB, I don’t know.
    Me? I’m in the fortunate position that I don’t mind spending a little more each month on data – a privilege that allows me to avoid the stress of owning a BB!

  5. My wife hasn’t yet had her BB for a month yet. Thankfully, so far when it has headed floorwards (usually courtesy of the 9 month old) it’s landed on a soft carpet or a pile of blanket. The thing truly feels about as flimsy as some of the toy phones you can get for kids (that break the first time they get dropped).

    And as for the software, I live in fear for the day I get home and get asked to restart her phone (because it’s done something silly and won’t switch on). It’s already given an issue in that regard, and from what I’ve heard, it’s not that unusual a phenomenon.

    Plus, who designed that OS????? Have they never heard of a GUI???

  6. Gary > Flimsiness aside, the Missus has to restart (ie, take out battery with phone switched on) her BB almost weekly.
    The calendar puts things in triplicate. It doesn’t sync properly. It crashes regularly. The battery drains for no apparent reason.
    On the plus side, it has BBM.

  7. Whatsapp is not free BTW, it is free for the first year and then you have to pay (I think an annual fee).

    Its also not nearly as good as BBM, none of the other IM’s are. Also it kills your battery…

    I find people who have used blackberry fall in to two different groups : Those who find everything about the OS and phone intuitive and natural, become infatuated and love it. Then, those that find it very confusing and fight with it for every second until they upgrade, or toss it.

    Nothing is wrong with either group… it something you like or you don’t.
    Apparently that means you are either a kid or a business person if you like them.

    A comment re Smartphones in general: They have short battery life and crash…this is life.

    My BB doesn’t crash everyday and it has none of the issues described above… also its one of the crap Berries… just goes to show.

  8. BB battery life is a cause for concern. I was playing with the wife’s last night (her BIS was finally activated) and in an hour and a half I managed to kill half her battery. A similar length of action on my Nokia E71 has almost no impact on the battery. I noticed too that the phone was constantly activating it’s data connection (even though there was nothing open) which I would suspect was it checking for new BBM’s. Which pretty much indicates that BBM is indeed an app, and not a service as it is claimed.

    And is also the source of the rapidly draining battery.

  9. When it connects to BIS it does a lot of stuff… updates and wotnot so that is the reason. Also possibly why you had battery problems. Also why you would have had issues with the phone… its useless without BIS, this actually explains most of your issues.

    Don’t worry about the sending and recieving data on a BB… this is the beauty of BIS. Internet, emails, updates… FREE FREE FREE

  10. Well, if you call spending R60 a month (what the BIS service costs) free, then good for you. Unless you get this thrown is as part of a special (the only reason ultimately why my wife got a blackberry at all), it most certainly is NOT free. And before you say that’s only because it’s not on a BB contract, well, you’re right. But said BB contract tends to give you less for more anyway (it’s something like R350 for a BB100 contract, and R300 for a Talk120 contract, so even there you pay R50 more, AND get 20 minutes less for that).

    Most of the issues I had with the phone came AFTER BIS was enabled. Which came courtesy of having to remove the battery first. A simple restart of the phone was not sufficient. It needed a hard reboot. Which puts it behind the Nokia yet again. I’ve never had to remove a battery from a Nokia for the purposes of installing an application.

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