BlackBerry launches ‘takeover’ ads to give iPhone and Android users the Z10 experience

blackberry-z10-front-displayNow BlackBerry has launched its first BlackBerry 10 device – the Z10 – in a bunch of countries around the world, including in the US on Friday, the Canadian mobile maker is turning its attention to aggressively marketing the device in a bid to convince consumers its new handset and BB10 operating system is worth a close look.

Working with a number of ad agencies, BlackBerry’s chief marketing officer Frank Boulben kicked off its multi-million-dollar awareness campaign at the end of January, when the Z10 first launched, with a number of Keep Moving television commercials.

Of course, TV commercials are all well and good, and with the reach they offer, you’d fully expect any tech company looking to stage one of the greatest comebacks in history to roll out a TV ad or two. It’s next idea, however, sounds rather more intriguing – BlackBerry wants to take over the screens of smartphones. All smartphones.

Beginning this week, the so-called ‘takeover’ ads will fill the screens of iPhones and Android-powered smartphones with a simulation of the BB10 mobile operating system, thereby alerting users to what they’re missing out on by sticking with their outdated handsets.

But don’t worry iPhone and Android owners – you do have control over whether your display goes all BB10 on you. Boulben told Phonevalley (via Mashable) that the user will first have to tap on a link, which could appear as a banner on a webpage, for example.

“Let’s say you’re exposed to a BlackBerry 10 link,” Boulben explained, “You click on it and it will take over your screen and, for instance, show you the BlackBerry 10 keyboard and at the end ask ‘Does your smartphone do that? If not, visit’” The takeover ads are also expected to show off BB10 features such as the Time Shift photo mode that enables you to pick the best shot from a burst, and BlackBerry Hub, which acts as a kind of message management system for BB10 devices.

It’s a clever-sounding idea, as BlackBerry is well aware that to have any chance of continuing in its current form it has to win back some of the millions of users who dumped its devices in favor of the iPhone, Android handsets and other smartphones. The takeover ads will address these deserters directly – if they tap on the link, that is.

It’s certainly going to be fascinating to see how users of non-BlackBerry devices respond to having their displays taken over by ads featuring an alternative operating system, and whether it actually persuades any users to consider giving up their current handset for a Z10.