BlackBerry opts against Lewis Hamilton ad campaign

BlackBerry will not feature Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in its advertising, despite reportedly paying $12m a year to sponsor the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team.

BlackBerry: sponsoring Mercedes F1 team
BlackBerry: sponsoring Mercedes F1 team

The smartphone maker will launch activity with Mercedes and its drivers to coincide with the start of the 2013/14 F1 season this month, but will eschew traditional celebrity product endorsement.

Former McLaren driver Hamilton has previously appeared in ads for sponsors, including Vodafone and Santander.

Frank Boulben, chief marketing officer at BlackBerry, said ads will focus on showing the BlackBerry 10 operating system in a ‘real life’ context rather than ‘paying a celebrity to say you should buy the device because I’m famous and I’m telling you to do it’.

Hamilton and Rosberg will be used in ‘content-oriented projects’ along similar lines to BlackBerry’s activity with singer Alicia Keys and author Neil Gaiman.

Gaiman is currently inviting his fans to collaborate in a crowd-sourced story and illustration project as part of BlackBerry’s ‘Keep moving’ strategy.

Sales of the BlackBerry Z10 have got off to a promising start in the UK, with Boulben claiming that the handset sold more units in its first three weeks than any of the brand’s previous models had done.

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