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BlackBerry's baffling Z10 Super Bowl ad

The first commercial for the BlackBerry Z10 raised more than a few eyebrows.

The first commercial for the BlackBerry Z10 raised more than a few eyebrows.

(Screenshot by CNET)

Even in Australia, we get the concept of the Super Bowl ad — that short commercial slot watched by millions. They've become a form of commercial art, often talked about as much as the game itself.

Since the dotcom boom, tech companies have tended to dominate — e-trade's famous dancing monkey ad is 13 years old, but still remembered by many as one of the classic tech ads.

But BlackBerry's Z10 ad seems to be pushing the envelope just a little far. The 30-second spot is theoretically dedicated to showing what the Z10 "can't do". Such as set you on fire or turn a truck into rubber duckies, in what might be the only reference to the 1978 film Convoy to ever be in a Super Bowl ad. Or any ad, other than one for the 1978 film Convoy.

While it might superficially be more of an exercise in "cool branding" — like Samsung's ad about an ad — it's a strange play for BlackBerry. It would seem that the company might be better served by actually giving consumers a better idea of what its first new hardware and software in two years looks like and is capable of.

Comments on the ad from viewers, both via YouTube and CNET, included "idiotic", "bad", "fail", "the worst Super Bowl commercial in the world" and "ranks right up there with the average Microsoft commercial". There have been, of course, some more positive responses as well.

We've previously shown some concern over whether BlackBerry can make a splash in the smartphone market with BB10 and the accompanying handsets. We hope that the money spent on this misstep of an ad isn't too large a portion of its marketing budget.