Friday, July 08, 2005

Mike Lazaridis: RIM CEO, Amex Pitchman

Mark Evans

Of Research in Motion's two co-CEOs, the talkative Jim Balsillie comes across as the more natural salesman. It's somewhat surprising, therefore, Amex Canada selected Mike Lazaridis to be part of a new ad campaign focusing on "fascinating" individuals. Lazaridis was selected - along with Robert De Niro, TV host Ellen DeGeneres and professional surfer Laird Hamilton - because of the Blackberry's success and his philanthropic and education activities. Amex's decision to feature Lazaridis is more evidence of how the Blackberry has become a cultural and business phenomena. Despite all the buzz about Blackberry-killers on the horizon, the Blackberry has what I call "default" status where consumers think of the Blackberry when it comes to mobile e-mail - much like eBay enjoys this status in the online auction market while the iPod has it for MP3 players. Once you achieve this position, it is very difficult to lose it. By selecting Lazaridis, Amex is not only recognizing the Blackberry's popularity but it is hoping to benefit from it as well.


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