BlackBerry is all but under water in the smartphone market, but it might have been saved by Justin Bieber.
Former BlackBerry senior business development manager Vincent Washington recounted a story for Bloomberg Businessweek about the Canadian pop sensation’s offer to bridge the generation gap for the original smartphone giant.
“One thing we missed out on was that Justin Bieber wanted to rep BlackBerry,” Washington said.
“He said, ‘Give me $200,000 and 20 devices, and I’m your brand ambassador,’ basically. And we pitched that to marketing: Here’s a Canadian kid, he grew up here, all the teeny-boppers will love that. They basically threw us out of the room. They said, ‘This kid is a fad. He’s not going to last.’ I said at the meeting: ‘This kid might outlive RIM.’ Everyone laughed.”
Bieber has since moved into the Forbes list of top 10 most powerful celebrities with a $130 million estimated net worth, while BlackBerry has shed close to 85 percent of its value over the last fiver years, and $1 billion in profits in 2013 alone.
The singer of the No. 1 single “Baby” also has a history of investing millions in tech start-ups like Spotify, Tinychat, Stamped and Sojo Studios. He’s also had the highest-selling fragrance every year since 2011.
BlackBerry has since hired Alicia Keys for global creative director, who the Huffington Post noted is not on the Forbes most-powerful list.