RIM's Australian attempt at guerrilla marketing is a belly flop

RIM has succeeded only in further highlighting its own apparent haplessness

While we're sure nobody at Research in Motion thought a host of black-clad protesters shouting "wake up!" outside a Australian Apple Store would single-handedly turn the company around, they probably didn't think that it could actually backfire as badly as it has.

Here's the video:

The puzzling stunt was initially ascribed to Samsung, which is planning to release a new Galaxy smartphone -- until an Aussie Mac blog noticed that some code on the "countdown" page advertised by the "wake up" campaign may have come from the BlackBerry maker. This put RIM in the embarrassing position of having to come out and say, "um, actually, it was us." Arguably, this sort of undercuts the point of "guerrilla" marketing.

Moreover, video blogger Nate Burr -- you remember "Blunty," the guy who was just playing with his new boom mic when he happened to catch this weird protest thing outside the Apple store? -- admitted that he'd been in on the stunt from the outset, as part of a rambling 11-minute response video slamming journalists and bloggers for their disingenuous and misleading reporting on the incident.

The second video can be found here. Both the description and the vid itself are fantastic examples of the pot calling the kettle black at the top of its lungs. Both Burr and RIM categorically state that no money changed hands as part of the deal.

While the company may have hoped to "provoke conversation on what 'being in business' means to Australians," as the official release has it, it seems a lot more likely that RIM has succeeded only in further highlighting its own apparent haplessness.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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