Research in Motion, which is flirting with a 5% market share in North America, has taken responsibility for a series of Apple-targeted publicity stunts in Australia revolving around the theme “Wake Up”, which bare a striking resemblance to a Samsung campaign of last year.
As per a statement to The Sydney Morning Herald, RIM took responsibility for the campaign that began with the text “Wake Up” being projected or displayed on landmarks around Australia, and culminated with a mock-protest at an Apple store in Sydney.
“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,” a RIM spokesperson said in a statement.
Initial media reports on the mysterious campaign pegged Samsung as the company behind it, as many believed it was a continuation of previous anti-Apple campaigns. However, when questioned by SlashGear on the topic Samsung Australia flat-out denied responsibility.
“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,” Samsung Australia said.
Australian blogger and MacTalk contributor James Croft was one of the first to track the campaign back to RIM.
In a blog post, Mr. Croft explained he examined the source code on the Wake Up website and found a Doubleclick account identifier that was shared by RIM’s Australian website.
“Clearly the evidence is starting to stack up in favour of them [RIM] being behind the whole mess,” wrote Mr. Croft.
Nearly as soon as the news of the stunt hit Twitter and the blogosphere, the Apple-fanboy press moved into full-scale muckraker mode against RIM.
Their efforts revealed that Australian YouTube vlogger Nate “Blunty” Burr, who first posted video of the demonstration on YouTube after “stumbling” upon it while in downtown Sydney, had posted a review of the Playbook last year where he praised the device’s features.
In the initial video, Mr. Burr claimed: “I was in the Apple Store having a poke around… So I’m outside the store when all of a sudden a big black bus pulls up, a bunch of people dressed in black pour out of bus with protest signs and they start screaming ‘Wake up’.”
“I had my camera out, I was testing the microphone out and I thought ‘why not?’”
In a video posted early Wednesday Australia time, Mr. Burr admitted that he had an astroturfed role in the video, but denied he had been paid by RIM.
“Yes I was involved in it. No I wasn’t paid to be a shill for Blackberry. They came to me about a week before the whole thing kicked off and said ‘Sign this NDA,’” vlogged Mr. Burr. “I never lied. I never claimed I was there by coincidence.”
“If you think I’m a shill for BlackBerry, so be it… and you can bugger off.”
RIM is set to unveil Blackberry 10 this Friday at Blackberry World in Orlando.