The RIM video that will make you squirmSeptember 26, 2012: 7:03 AM ET
Some top developer-relations execs at RIM express apologies and promises via a cringe-worthy video depicting them singing to an REO Speedwagon tune.
FORTUNE -- They don't call it "corporate rock" for nothing. Research in Motion (RIMM) on Tuesday released a can't-look-away video depicting some of its developer-relations executives performing a spoof of REO Speedwagon's end-of-the-70s stadium ballad "Keep on Loving You."
The needle has been stuck on RIM's soundtrack ever since the major-label releases of the iPhone (AAPL) and Google's (GOOG) Android mobile operating system. Those cutting-edge alt-platforms zoomed right past RIM's stodgy, dinosaur-rock BlackBerry to reach the top of the charts and stay there. RIM's stock has fallen by 70% over the past year and has lost 93% of its value over the past five years. Given the BlackBerry's current reputation, maybe the boys should have picked a band to mock that isn't currently dredging up hoary hits at county fairs and tiny colleges.
The video was shown during a developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The executives promise to "keep on loving" developers with the coming release of BlackBerry 10.
It's slightly creepy on a few different levels. "We've all seen these are challenging times, baby," lip-syncs Alec Saunders, RIM's vice president of developer relations,"'cause we're in transition." It's not clear whether Saunders actually sang the song, but he's clearly, and quite clumsily, mouthing along to a recording of the tune. The "guitarist," Christopher Smith, another veep, is much more convincing: he's playing real chords, anyway. The song also serves as something of an apology to developers. True to recent form, RIM has already delayed the launch of the BlackBerry 10 phone twice, and the release date is still uncertain -- reportedly, sometime early next year. "So don't be misled, the launch is just ahead," the rewritten lyrics promise.
Investor and Twitter obsessive Paul Kedrosky called the video "wonderfully ick." And he dug up what is, if possible, an even more cringe-worthy musical train wreck: a couple of Bank of America (BAC) execs welcoming MBNA after their merger in 2006 by performing a version of U2's "One." Ethan Chandler, then a BofA veep (who actually has a pretty decent voice) sings, "We are one, we are one, we are one … bank."
"VH1 should do a special about bad corporate song covers," Kedrosky suggests.