Speaking at the APEC CEO summit in Beijing, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said he is not interested in hiring reality TV star Kim Kardashian West as the company’s spokesperson, even though Kardashian West admitted her love for the phone brand last month.
“I’m not into bringing celebrities on board,” Chen said. “It’s not that it’s a waste of money but a question of where you should spend the money today.”
According to Bloomberg, Chen said he’d prefer to spend those potential ad dollars on investing in next-generation technology for future smartphones.
And he insists BlackBerry has “pulled back” from the consumer market, where Kardashian’s name would probably help, instead choosing to emphasise security, encryption, and privacy for government and business clients.
This is potentially disappointing news for Kardashian West, who gave BlackBerry some fresh publicity last month when she told Re/code’s Kara Swisher that she buys BlackBerry phones on eBay whenever she can because she’s “afraid they will go extinct.”
Chen said he hasn’t exactly ruled out a return to the consumer market, but he wants “to make sure the base business is solid.”
Credit Chen for being one of the few people in the world who would turn down Kim Kardashian, whose popularity is skyrocketing at the moment. But it doesn’t sound like the BlackBerry CEO is closed to partnerships of any kind: Chen has reportedly met with a few notable company executives in China, including Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing, and HTC chairwoman Cher Wang.