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BlackBerry chooses 'swagger' over substance for Super Bowl spot

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BlackBerry has just unveiled its Super Bowl ad — arguably the company's first real mainstream debut for BlackBerry 10 following its launch event — but for some reason it's all about what its new Z10 handset "can't" do. (For instance, the BlackBerry Z10 can't turn an out-of-control truck into a pile of rubber duckies.) That's a curious strategy for a company that just rebranded itself last week, and that needs to successfully win back the high-end smartphone market in the US and other regions where Apple and Google have dominated for years. In a phone conversation with The Verge, BlackBerry Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben says the new Super Bowl ad "shows some swagger. It's cutting edge, it shows self-confidence. It fits with the introduction of the product." It's just hard to see how you can introduce a new product without covering a single feature.

The Super Bowl spot is only a one-time ad, which will be replaced by the company's new "Keep Moving" advertising campaign. Boulben says that campaign, launching tomorrow in Canada and in March in the US, is more focused on the "end user." We previewed a 60-second Keep Moving ad, which featured a side-scrolling view of people moving through different variations on work and play: a nod to the company's enterprise-focused heritage. Boulben says that you can't separate the employee from the person, and that the company wants to "show the end user that BlackBerry 10 has been designed to make their lives easier." Unlike the Super Bowl ad, these ads will highlight BlackBerry 10's features, including its TimeShift camera mode.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, BlackBerry's new ad campaign is a sizable bet; the company plans to spend "several hundreds of million" dollars on marketing for the new Z10 and Q10 handsets. The Keep Moving campaign will feature a number of different ads around the same core theme, and BlackBerry also plans on getting the word out in print and on billboards.