Apple Store Disrupted by Screaming Mob, Masterminded by RIM

An eye-catching protest/flash-mob occurred outside an Apple, Inc. (AAPL) store in Sydney Australia.  Blogger Nate ‘Blunty’ Burr captured the whole incident on video, leading some to believe he may have been hired by whoever was behind the campaign.

I. All Aboard the Protest Bus

He describes, “All of a sudden a big black bus pulls up.  A bunch of people dressed in black pour out of said bus with protest signs and they start screaming ‘Wake up!'”

“Perhaps it’s some sort of guerilla marketing for a new SIRI feature,” he deadpans, “SIRI, please send a screaming mob to me at work to me at 2 pm. BEW-DOOP!”

Well given Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.’s (KS:005930) upcoming Galaxy S3 launch and its recent history of mocking Apple’s throng of followers, everyone sort of reached the forgone conclusion that the South Korean phonemaker was behind this.  After all, Samsung was likely a bit sore at the fact that Apple had succeeding in banning its tablet sales for a while in Australia, before the ruling was overturned.

But Samsung — who some estimate is now the world’s largest smartphone-maker, ahead of Apple — denied crafting the stunt.  A spokesperson told the Australian newspaper The Age, “As a market leader in smartphones we think Australians have already woken up to the multitude of choices available, but kudos to whoever is behind the campaign.”

II. The True Backer Shows Their Face

So if it wasn’t Samsung who was it?

It turns out the noisy mob was the work of Research in Motion ltd. (TSE:RIM), makers of the BlackBerry smartphone.  RIM is currently working on preparing its brand-new QNX-based BlackBerry 10 smartphone operating system for the market.

RIM recently received a “wake up” of its own, recording its first quarterly loss in years.

[Image Source: YouTube]
But with a new leader at the helm, the company is determined to stay independent and perhaps even give Apple, et al. a wake up call of its own.

RIM comments, “We can confirm that the Australian ‘Wake Up’ campaign, which involves a series of experiential activities taking place across Sydney and Melbourne, was created by RIM Australia.”

[Image Source: YouTube]
The phonemaker promises it didn’t pay off bloggers like Mr. Burr — who has done in-depth past coverage for RIM — to cover the mock protest.  The company assures, “Bloggers were not paid for this campaign or told what to say.  Neither RIM, nor any agencies on RIM’s behalf, have ever paid Blunty.”

The company has a webpage up promoting the viral campaign  The site has a countdown, which is currently ~422,450 seconds from completion, or about five days away.  RIM is expected to deliver a preview of the upcoming BlackBerry 10 in Australia at the end of the week.

The company does have a bit of a history of provocative ad campaigns backfiring.  Around this time last year RIM spent millions on a campaign for its PlayBook tablet, declaring “Amateur hour is over.” 

But reviews of the PlayBook embarassingly indicated that RIM’s tablet was very much the “amateur hour” device compared to veteran designs like the iPad.  A year later, RIM is at it again, this time hoping for better results.