BlackBerry-Bieber Partnership? Guess Who Said No

Dennis Faas's picture

There's something both pop star Justin Bieber and smartphone maker BlackBerry have in common: they're both Canadian. Even more precisely, they're both from Southwestern Ontario, the part of Canada that thrusts southwards into the American Midwest.

Now, a new report says that Bieber, who is from Stratford, Ontario, attempted to help promote the struggling Waterloo-based BlackBerry.

However, BlackBerry (formerly Research in Motion, or RIM) officials turned down the deal because they had concerns about Bieber's staying power.

BlackBerry Dismisses Bieber, Bets On Keys

The report comes from Bloomberg Businessweek, which says it recently learned from former BlackBerry senior development manager Vincent Washington (who was with the firm between 2001 and 2011) that Bieber offered to help promote BlackBerry for a reasonable fee: $200,000 and 20 BlackBerry smartphones.

The deal would have made Bieber BlackBerry's primary brand ambassador. Washington says he liked the idea and pitched it to marketing. "Here's a Canadian kid, he grew up here, all the teeny-boppers will love that," Washington said. (Source:

The reply from BlackBerry's marketing staff?

"They basically threw us out of the room," Washington said. "They said, 'This kid is a fad. He's not going to last.'"

Washington says that he felt differently, insisting that Bieber would be around for a while. But BlackBerry's marketing team wouldn't have it.

Instead, BlackBerry went with talented R&B star Alicia Keys. But Keys, who is not Canadian, hardly appeared interested in the long-term viability of the company.

After signing the deal Keys took to Twitter using an iPhone; later, she claimed her social media account had been hacked. (Source:

Bieber's Popularity Continues to Soar. BlackBerry? Not So Much

It's all very ironic. Today, Justin Bieber remains one of the world's hottest pop stars, while BlackBerry's relevance in the rapidly growing smartphone market continues to decline.

The firm's share price currently sits around the $10 mark -- a massive decrease from 2008, when it was worth $140.

And Justin Bieber? Thanks in part to a growing Twitter following that currently stands at 46 million people, BusinessInsider estimates his net worth to be $130 million. (Source:

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