Fanciful BlackBerry Super Bowl ad focuses on what new Z10 smartphone can‘t do

"It's quicker to show what it can't do."

TORONTO – In an unusual marketing twist, the maker of the BlackBerry bought a 30 second advertisement on the Super Bowl broadcast to promote what the new smartphone can’t do.

The fantastical commercial showed a man walking out of a store playing with the features of his new BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen device.

The first time he swipes the phone’s screen his sweater catches fire, while the second time his lower body turns into elephant legs.

When he swipes the phone again he bursts into colourful powder before another swipe turns a crashing tanker truck into hundreds of rubber duckies.

“In 30 seconds it’s quicker to show what it can’t do,” an announcer says at the end of the commercial.

The advertisement featured the classic soul song “Who Knows” by Marion Black, and aired in both the U.S. and Canada.

“In our debut appearance at the Super Bowl we knew that it wasn’t feasible to communicate the rich experience of BlackBerry 10,” said chief marketing officer Frank Boulben in a released statement.

“We wanted to let people know that BlackBerry is back and that BlackBerry 10 is worth checking out.”

Last week when the BlackBerry company, which formerly called itself Research In Motion (TSX:RIM), unveiled the device it spent much of the time focusing on what the features of the phone could do, such as its hub technology which acts as one place for all incoming messages, email, BBM and social media.

The company chose to stay relatively secretive about its Super Bowl commercial before the game, even though it went against the trend of releasing the ads on the Internet beforehand to drum up extra attention. Over the weekend it released three single-frame images of the commercial in an effort to keep the mystery alive.

The new BlackBerry Z10 will arrive on store shelves in Canada on Tuesday and has already made its debut in the United Kingdom.

The Super Bowl is the most-watched television event of the year, drawing 111.3 million U.S. viewers in 2012, and 8.1 million in Canada, but its commercials grab even more attention.

The event is also the most expensive event for advertisers, costing an average of $3.4 million for a 30-second spot on NBC last year, according to ratings firm Nielsen.

This year, estimates for how much CBS is charging for a 30-second spot vary wildly from between $3.6 million to $4 million. CTV declined to say how much it’s charging for Canadian airtime.