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Oh No, RIM Is Trying Comedy

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Typically, when an aged public figure has fallen out of favor with the youth market -- or was never able to tap into it in the first place -- the individual tries his or her hand in comedy as a way to "connect with the kids." John McCain appeared on SNL, Pat Boone donned a leather vest and temporary tattoos at the MTV Awards, and Andrew "Dice" Clay, well, returned to stand-up. But depending on the material, the delivery, and the person's amenability toward self-deprecation, the result could either be wildly successful (Betty White) or an embarrassing train wreck (Dustin Diamond). If the public notices the slightest hint of desperation, the maneuver will end in disaster.

And at this point, there's nothing that RIM (RIMM) could do that wouldn't look incredibly desperate.

In its effort to catch up to the likes of Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), and even Microsoft (MSFT) and Nokia (NOK), RIM has waged one failed marketing campaign after another -- along with equally disastrous product launches. Last year, the folks behind the BlackBerry PlayBook arrogantly declared that amateur hour is over. (The tablet was released without native email support, incidentally.) In January, RIM hit a new low with its BeBold campaign buoyed a legion of animated superheroes. (The company distanced itself from the move after rampant mockery, declaring it to be a "bit of fun," even though the ad had already been completely integrated into the BeBold campaign.)

But with one failed marketing attempt after another, RIM has settled upon the same tactic that Bill Gates used in that Seinfeld ad: comedy.

Launching a site promoting the BBM Generation, RIM has enlisted two comedy writers -- Streeter Seidell and Amir Blumenfeld from College Humor -- to drum up some jokes for the flagging brand in order to usher in that under-30 market. Announcing the new 2012 Challenge Council Project, the company promises that Streeter and Amir "are about to shut down BlackBerry trash talk once and for all" and put "BlackBerry naysayers on blast" -- whatever that means.

Apparently, RIM still isn't ready to make fun of itself yet.

While College Humor has proven itself to be a pretty funny outlet, the whole maneuver still feels out-of-touch -- like a joke-driven version of the Microsoft Kin campaign. Rather than deliver innovative products that actually do usher in a younger clientele, RIM relies on another brand makeover to perpetuate a "young and hip" image it barely had to begin with.

And no matter if this comedy cavalcade is an uproarious success, the company is still six to eight months away from delivering a BlackBerry 10 device -- a lengthy interim that will see a multitude of iPhone, Android, and Windows 8 products.

You know, stuff that the youth market will have already been into.

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POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.