January 30, 2013

This brand is on fire! (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Stagnating shares make for strange bedfellows.

Alicia Keys, who is still a Relevant, Hip Artist, has just become the Global Creative Director of BlackBerry. Because nothing says “this is a great device for encrypted end-to-end communications” like “Alicia Keys.” As rebranding went, it was that or change the name of the BlackBerry’s Canadian parent company from Research in Motion to Research in Stagnation or Research That Has Been Lying In Bed Whimpering For The Past Several Quarters, and no one wanted that.

I have no idea what a Global Creative Director is. It sounds like one of those positions you come up with in your high school Leadership Club, the club where everyone pays $10 to claim whatever title he can come up with and at the end of the year you pool the funds to throw a big party. But whatever works!

I guess they are a natural fit, in the sense that they are both moving slowly and inevitably toward death. As are we all. 

I am trying to think of other things Keys and BlackBerry have in common, aside from the fact that they have both appeared in commercials for BlackBerrys. Neither has a good maps app? If you address either of them as “Siri,” they get irritable? A big part of their appeal was their skillful deployment of keys in the 2000s?

But BlackBerrys are moving away from the keyboard. And other than that? Well, Alicia Keys is not President Obama, the other prominent name associated with the device. That is… something.

The new Z10 looks as though it will be a big hit with people who want a BlackBerry that can pass for a critical few seconds as an iPhone or Android. Although who wants to pass as an iPhone these days? According to numerous reports, Apple is losing its “cool” factor, whatever that denotes. All the hip kids have Samsung products!

And her endorsement of BlackBerry will only muddy the waters further. It cannot hurt.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.