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BlackBerry’s ‘Gallery of Privacy’ is suffering from too much privilege

Sometimes you just need to say 'no' to your marketing team

What does privacy mean to you? Is it a doctor with a smartphone in his pocket? Or a doctor with a smartphone in his hand? Is it a tree, a zen garden? A woman laughing inexplicably, alone in bed with her phone? If you're BlackBerry, then it's all of the above, with the company celebrating the launch of the Priv, its first-ever Android device, with the Gallery of Privacy: a collection of black-and-white promotional images that only manage to transcend the medium of stock photography by being so downright silly. (And yes, the name "Priv" does indeed stand for "privacy" as well as "privilege.")

The gallery is full of classic, relatable images like a young child and older person holding hands (but also a BlackBerry Priv); an attractive young couple laughing in bed (the woman is laughing at her BlackBerry Priv); and a grease-stained mechanic with a wrench in one hand and in the other (you guessed it), a BlackBerry Priv. Basically, the message from BlackBerry is that if you buy a Priv you'll be transported into a black-and-white dream world where everyone is rich and hot and can only communicate using just two words: privacy and privilege.

It's ridiculous and over the top in a way we're more used to seeing from Samsung, not BlackBerry. But amazingly, the company manages to outdo itself with another feature named Portraits of Privacy: a series of sort-of-interviews with rich old white men (including Bryan Adams!) which manage to shoehorn in the concept of privacy in the most tenuous ways. One interview with John Richardson, Picasso's biographer, doesn't even mention the Priv at all, only the fact that Picasso had "a very private side." How this is supposed to sell smartphones is beyond us, but maybe we're just not privileged enough to get it.


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