BlackBerry snubbed Justin Bieber for brand ambassador role


US teen singer offered to take on the role for $200,000 and 20 devices in 2007 but manufacturer labelled him a ‘fad’ and said ‘he’s not going to last’ 

BlackBerry rejected the opportunity for US teen singer Justin Bieber to act as its brand ambassador when the he put himself forward for the role in 2007.

This is according to a comprehensive ‘oral history of BlackBerry’ in the latest issue of Bloomberg Business Week, which saw the media network talk to a number of people in various roles at the company throughout the years.

These included Ray Gillenwater, managing director from 2007-12, Patrick Spence, senior VP and marketing director for global sales from 1998-2012, Tyler Lessard, VP for global alliances and developer relations from 2001-11 and current senior manager for product marketing Jeff Godway.

Vincent Washington, who was RIM senior business development manager from 2001-11, said: “One thing we missed out on was that Justin Bieber wanted to rep BlackBerry. 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, who like BlackBerry is from Ontario, Canada, was discovered a year later in 2008 by American talent manager Scooter Braun. In the previous 12 months, he has earned an estimated $55 million and as of May 2012, he had sold more than 15 million albums. He also has more than 47 million followers on Twitter.