BlackBerry is a company that has never understood advertising. This was a company that though support for Adobe Flash was a feature worth advertising despite most consumers not understanding, and experts not caring. A company whose sole Super Bowl ad went out of its way to explicitly show zero of the phones features, and who once paid for an eleven minute ad about two girls in an ice cream truck fighting monsters.
It would be easy to think that the floor could not get any lower. Yet it has. The content coming out of the BlackBerry blog these days is pure nonsense.
In reaction to the Panama Papers scandal BlackBerry had some recommendations on how to prevent finding yourself in a similar situation. However, while most people would take an opportunity to advice against hiding your money in an offshore account, BlackBerry had a different reaction and instead decided that the real problem was Mossack Fonseca’s lack of internal security.
Their recent blog titled “How to Ease Employees’ ‘Big Brother’ Fears About Location Tracking” is not so much advising that you protect the privacy of your employees, but rather how to convince them to not worry about the invasion of their privacy.
However the worst bit is BlackBerry’s recent obsession on preparing for a work place shooting. Stories about workplace violence have been posted three times in the past three months, painting ridiculously unlikely scenarios. Somehow BlackBerry expects that this fear mongering is going to help them sell enterprise software.
Every line in the articles jumps between “active shooter incidents are now, unfortunately, a stark reality that must be given serious consideration” and “the likelihood of being involved in a workplace shooting is infinitesimally small“, but with the need to justify themselves they end up recommending “multiple training sessions and no-notice exercises“. And have also included such bizarrely unuseful information such as “Police officers responding to an active shooter situation are trained to proceed immediately to the area where shots were last heard. Their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officers will normally be in pairs. They may be dressed in regular patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets and other tactical gear. The officers may be armed with handguns, rifles or shotguns to address the situation.” The fact that during a shooting, police officers would arrive dressed as police officers should have been able to go without saying.
Worse though is the most recent post points out that the real danger of workplace shootings is that it leaves companies open to liability and OSHA compliance issues. I get that BlackBerry has now become a boring enterprise company, but that doesn’t mean that they need to be manipulative as well.