Faced With BlackBerry Jam, Industry Keeps Stiff Upper Lip

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Adages is not a fan of the BlackBerry. We hold firm to our belief that work belongs in an office and should not follow us home or, worse, to our local bar. Heck, we'd bet good money that more than a few readers have sent unfortunate e-mails to work colleagues after a few drinks instilled motivation enough to say exactly what you thought of so-and-so's project and/or management style.
Tastes good in pie! This blackberry won't let you down.
Tastes good in pie! This blackberry won't let you down.

So we chuckled some last week when we heard news of the BlackBerry outage. Nothing like watching an entire industry freak out as the addicts are cut off from their supply, we thought. We even e-mailed a bunch of them to see how they were getting along. But they never responded!

Actually, a couple of them did, and they said almost the exact same thing. Jeff Jarvis, dean of citizen journalism (we just decided to call him that), responded almost immediately: "Treo rules."

Ian Beavis, VP-marketing of Kia Motors America, responded similarly: "I'm a Treo guy, the best method to avoid CrackBerry meltdown."

But what about actual BlackBerry users? Gunnar Wilmot, chairman of Interpublic's Gotham, New York, told our Jean Halliday: "Frankly, I hadn't known about the outage until I read about it in the paper, which proves that I am not addicted, that I am a 'social user' and, of course, that I can quit anytime I choose."

Frequent readers will understand how deeply, deeply disappointed Adages was with all this chin-up, brave-face posturing. So we placed a call to reporter Brooke Capps, covering the 4A's convention down in Naples, Fla. We hoped she'd report a chaotic scene of mass hysteria. No luck.

Some attendees admitted to checking their BlackBerries every few minutes for messages as they trickled in. Others, unable to quit cold turkey, spent the time improving their BrickBreaker skills. Nothing like using a $300 device to play a $5 game!

And then there was Mari Kim Novak, director of industry relations for MSN, looking relaxed and detached poolside. For once, having Windows Mobile software was something to brag about!

The Zune she has to listen to, however -- that's another matter entirely.

Agency guy almost sneaks into own campaign
Will Dean came this close to being a commercial superstar rather than just a commercial creator. The senior art director of Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners played the character Hammer for a few months in early demos to show client Mini USA how the campy character would interact with a talking car in the online film series "Hammer & Coop."

Dean said he and his partner, Lyle Yetman, associate creative director, decided it would be easier just to shoot Dean as Hammer. "We knew what we were looking for in the images -- the poses, the cheesy vibe of it. I had the 'stache and the big hair, so it was passable."

He borrowed his roommate's leather jacket and wore his everyday sunglasses.

"It was really weird to see images of myself on my screen every day when I was working on layouts and storyboards -- really weird."

"He looked great" with his real handlebar moustache and big, black, bushy hair, said boss John Butler.

"We fell in love with him" in the role, cooed Mini USA's marketing manager Trudy Hardy. But, she said, Mini realized Dean had a full-time day job, so the company acquiesced when Hollywood director Todd Phillips brought in comedian Brian Callen to play Hammer (now on hammerandcoop.com).

Sorry, Trudy, but Adages isn't buying that old day-job excuse. After all, UPS stuck with Martin Agency Creative Director Andy Azula to scribble on a whiteboard in its latest round of commercials. And Andy, though he can draw, isn't rocking a really kick-ass moustache.

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Contributing: Brooke Capps, Jean Halliday Send blackberry recipes to kwheaton@adage.com
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