Summary: A startlingly unhelpful TV commercial manages to both undermine Blackberry’s enterprise credibility while apparently encouraging personal activities on company time
The above AT&T BBDO US TV spot for Blackberry Torch 4G smart phones, which I winced at during San Francisco 49ers NFL games last year, neatly encapsulates the fears many business managers have about their staff’s digital ’social’ interactions. A manager instructs staff to post baby videos, play fantasy football, participate in online games, check in on foursquare and listen to music on their new Blackberries before turning on his heel and leaving the office, to save you watching 30 seconds of video (which close to a million people have viewed on YouTube).
This AT&T messaging makes my work around effective use of modern collaborative tools inside businesses that much harder and demonstrates a lack of understanding- perhaps intentionally - of Blackberry’s core business, which has historically been primarily secure email and voice communication in the enterprise.
RIM, the Blackberry manufacturer, continue to be excoriated in the financial press for lack of management focus, and it takes some doing in a red hot smart phone marketplace to run ads celebrating goofing off at work, ironically the achilles heel of these modern collaborative tools. I’m amazed they allowed AT&T to run this advertisement for their product.
Presumably AT&T’s Bold smartphone ad is aimed at individuals and not the guys in unified communications and IT tasked with provisioning smart phones to the workforce. On all sorts of levels the TV spot demonstrates the tensions between our personal uses of technology (the ’smoking’ break to check Facebook and catch up on personal business on company time) and the job you pay someone to do, supplying tools that are fit for purpose to work together more efficiently.
As we break through from puberty into the early adolescence of the socially networked world we will hopefully see an end to these types of uninformed and unhelpful pieces of mass communication messaging, which blunt the effectiveness of vendors attempting to shape and define more efficient business collaboration…
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Oliver Marks professional work is defined by an objective viewpoint of the broad spectrum of vendors and options available to his clients and readers of this blog. Oliver provides an impartial perspective of vendors and is focused on contractual affiliation with clients in order to select appropriate solutions. As such he has no business relationships with the companies or services he recommends. Oliver is a founding partner of The Sovos Group. The opinions, concepts and views put forward in this blog are solely those of Oliver Marks.
Oliver Marks is a founding partner at SovosGroup.com which provides seasoned independent consulting guidance to companies on the effective planning of 'Enterprise 2.0' strategy, tactics, technology decisions and roll out.
With extensive senior management practical experience in international enterprise collaboration, Oliver previously managed the Sony PlayStation 'WorldWide Studios' collaboration extranet, and has worked with the American Management Association, Sun, Docent/SumTotal Systems, Harvard Business School and McKinsey & Company on major initiatives around knowledge transfer and change management.
Oliver has dual US/UK citizenship and has worked on Asian, European and American global enterprise collaboration, and spoken at various conferences. He is based in San Francisco.
His personal blog is at www.olivermarks.com .
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