Blackberry Thinks Your iPhone is Worth $550

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Quick Quiz: How many people in your office use a Blackberry?

The answer to that question illustrates the problem the brand has experienced for the better part of a decade.

Blackberry has struggled to maintain its market share while both Android and Apple technology get to enjoy the spoils of their own success. Enter CEO John S. Chen, who thinks his marketing budget would be best spent paying for your existing phone.

Interested?

According to VentureBeat, the BlackBerry Passport Trade-Up Program will start on December 1 and end February 13, and it doubles as a plea for iPhone users to upgrade to a BlackBerry Passport. Those who do will get up to $400 for their iPhone, plus an additional $150 in the form of a Visa Prepaid Card.

While this seems like a Yuletide opportunity to make the switch, the PR point-of-view reveals something else.

street flagsHave you ever come across a street corner adorned with the sort of flags that urge you to take notice and make an impulse buy (spoiler: $4.99 isn’t such a great deal for a sandwich and chips)?

This sort of stunt reads “desperation.”

Therein lies the rub: the difference between sage marketing and failed stunts is timing.

If this cracked deal had taken place five years ago, many in the industry would have claimed that Mr. Chen was fighting to help define the brand. Today, it looks like a struggle to save the brand from both its competitors and itself.

Another quick quiz: How many people do you know who jumped at BlackBerry’s slick offer?

Exactly.