Alicia Keys gives PowerPoint presentation to BlackBerry

BlackBerry marketing chief Frank Boulben reveals that the singer and company creative director is deeply engaged in BlackBerry's business. Did she sing as she presented?

Alicia Keys at her BlackBerry inauguration.

It would be easy to think that no one, no one was buying BlackBerrys right now.

Somehow, the brand -- at least in the U.S. -- appears to be enduring a soporific phase. Why, only the other day, some highly unreliable research suggested that it was the phone that people least wanted to buy.

BlackBerry, though, believes bigger and brighter days are ahead. Recently, it hired Alicia Keys as its creative director.

Some pointed out, to BlackBerry's discomfort, that Keys was an iPhone user with an iOS app .

Just as that information reverberated, Keys was seen tweeting from her iPhone. She claimed, shockingly, that she'd been hacked .

Now, however, I can reveal that she's also a Microsoft user.

No, it's not that she's suddenly embraced Windows Phone. It's that she's made a PowerPoint presentation to BlackBerry.

At this morning's AdAge Digital Conference in New York, BlackBerry Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben was in an Empire State of Mind as he gushed about Keys' contribution to BlackBerry's planning.

Boulben said that it was Keys who initially approached BlackBerry with her deep interest in its technology. She has apparently attended five marketing meetings, and at one, has dazzled with her PowerPoint.

Her task, it seems, is to help beat Microsoft so that BlackBerry can become the No. 3 mobile platform.

Naturally, many will wonder what nuggets Keys has imparted to make BlackBerry's marketing take on some winning flavor.

Is there anyone, indeed, who is aware of any marketing for the Z10 at all? What is it that BlackBerry currently lacks?

It's certainly evident that too many people think of the old BlackBerry as the brand with the physical keyboard and the user base of dull, harassed people in suits. The brand, though, is still very strong in emerging markets such as Indonesia and South Africa.

Music artists have extended their marketing skills to all sorts of brands with varying success. Will.i.am, for example, is director of Creative Innovation at Intel. He is very forthright in the notion that "ad agencies are yesterday."

Justin Timberlake, on the other hand, got involved with MySpace .

One wonders, therefore, what Keys said in her PowerPoint. Did she explain about people and their perceptions of cool? Did she talk about the changing human perspective of cell phones?

Did she lambaste BlackBerry's ads?

And how much of BlackBerry's future success or failure will be placed upon her piano? When fashion brands hire creative directors, the vision is all theirs. Will BlackBerry give Keys the same leeway? Does it regard her as central to its becoming a brand with which people want to be seen?

If if does, I fancy that she'll have to offer more than a few PowerPoints to prevent BlackBerry from fallin'.

 

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