If you’re looking for mistakes in the recent history of smartphone-maker BlackBerry, you’re spoiled for choice. But one that’s only just come to light is the company’s decision in 2007 not to take up an offer from Justin Bieber to become its brand ambassador. “One thing we missed out on was that Justin Bieber wanted to rep BlackBerry. He said, ‘Give me $200,000 and 20 devices, and I’m your brand ambassador,’ basically. And we pitched that to marketing: Here’s a Canadian kid, he grew up here, all the teeny-boppers will love that,” the company’s former business development manager tells BusinessWeek. “They basically threw us out of the room. They said, ‘This kid is a fad. He’s not going to last.’ I said at the meeting: ‘This kid might outlive RIM.’ Everyone laughed.” Possibly less so now, although in BlackBerry’s defence, in 2007 Bieber was still just an emerging YouTube star.

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