Burning Question

Will RIM’s 'ridiculous' cartoon superheroes hurt the company?

The BlackBerry manufacturer releases its masked foursome, the "Bold Team," into an unforgiving blogosphere. What were they thinking?

The image: Meet BlackBerry's "Bold Team," four cartoon superheroes created by RIM as part of a new infographic promotion. The quartet — "The Achiever," "The Adventurer," "The Advocate," and "The Authentic" — was ostensibly designed to appeal to a younger demographic, but has instead drawn internet ridicule. (View the quartet below.) RIM has since backtracked, insisting that the Bold Team was always "intended to be a bit of fun" and isn't a part of a new ill-advised ad campaign. But considering the scrutiny under which RIM's disastrous 2011 has put the failing company and new CEO Thorsten Heins, can the company afford to make such public missteps?

The reaction: With this curious take on the Burger King Kids Club, "RIM is trying to humanize the brand," showing that BlackBerry isn't just for the "tragically uncool" or the "hopeless workaholic," says Chris Velazco at TechCrunch. "Trying" being the operative word. Thank goodness it's just a one-off thing. Actually, these "inspirationally ridiculous cartoon characters" will "lead the company to the promised land," says Nathan Ingraham at The Verge. "Perhaps GoGo Girl, 'the achiever,' can get the BlackBerry 10 OS launched before late 2012 and Justin Steele 'the advocate' can keep customers buying from its rather outdated portfolio until there's more exciting hardware on the market." Keep at it, RIM. These four heroes are exactly what you need. Take a look:

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