Maybe instead of hiring Alicia Keys as its new creative director, BlackBerry should have gone with Weird Al?
To raise awareness of the imminent American release of its Z10 smartphone, the embattled handset maker has put out a music video covering the Etta James jazz classic "At Last," with the words changed to celebrate the launch of BlackBerry's long-delayed, company-saving phone. (Sample lyrics: "At Last/Oh, the promise has come true/Your games and apps are in the storefront/On our new platform built for you.")
The song was recorded by real-life, honest-to-goodness BlackBerry employees, all three of them with the title "vice president"; you may remember a similar video from September 2012, with the same VPs wailing away on a cover of the REO Speedwagon number "I Just Wanna Keep On Lovin You."
You can watch the BlackBerry version of "At Last" below. Note that you might be muttering the title of the song when the video reaches its end:
To be charitable, that REO Speedwagon cover -- regardless of its artistic merits -- did succeed in attracting attention to BlackBerry's new phones: "Devs, BlackBerry Is Going To Keep On Loving You" has currently scored almost 450,000 YouTube views. Granted, much of the press coverage of the video tilted toward the negative, but, hey, all publicity is good publicity, right?
That we're even talking about BlackBerry as a viable alternative to the iPhone or any number of Android smartphones represents something of a coup for the manufacturer, whose premature obituary has been written more frequently than perhaps any other tech company's.
A model poses with the BlackBerry Z10 during a launch event in Indonesia. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
The new BlackBerry smartphones have begun to ship overseas, and early signs are at least somewhat encouraging. Reviews have been, if not overly enthusiastic, at least respectable. An anonymous customer bought 1 million BlackBerrys, launching an intriguing detective search into that mystery man, woman or corporation's identity. There are at least pulses of life, in other words, which is something we might not have been able to declare six months ago, when it appeared that BlackBerry 10 might be released at the same time as the next Harper Lee novel.
We should know in the coming months whether the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone is the company's last, or whether, at last, BlackBerry has saved itself. Having used the Z10 for the past week, I can at least say this: BlackBerry is better at making smartphones than it is at making music videos.