Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Trouble with the curve

Sometimes a great idea can be tripped up by the smallest of things.

In this case, Samsung had a great idea in bringing Michael Bay, the director known for filling our movie screens with eye-popping visuals, to introduce their new very large "curve" TV screen.  

But as we all know too well by now, Michael and the teleprompter went out of synch. Michael got flustered. Tried to save it.  Then said, "sorry" and walked off stage. The emcee recovered nicely. However, the story about the "curve" TV became how Michael had trouble with the curve ball thrown at him.

And, then, it became a mini feeding frenzy with bloggers and media. ("Meltdown" "Freak-out" Really Jim Edwards? "Peace the f*** out" Really Joshua Topolsky??   "Flame out" USA Today??)

Michael did post a note on his blog, which was good.  We PR folks would have advised him to do this, show a bit of humility.  A few others have chimed in about a "teaching moment" for anyone who is thinking of presenting live. 

Now comes the creative part.  What does Samsung do next?

Evaluate and monitor the reaction.
If this "flub" story has legs, do you just roll with the punches and consider any coverage to be good coverage for your product? The key here is to accurately measure whether this kind of news is actually contributing to more positive consumer reaction to the Curve.  Notice I didn't say "media" reaction because the carefully orchestrated roll-out effort that preceded Michael's appearance is already a media "win."  There are tons of positive stories, starting with the intro of an curved HD screen four months earlier at another trade show.

Dare we...
PR folks, and I'll include advertising, may wonder whether this incident could be turned around into an even more memorable effort a few weeks or months from now.  For example:  A cute advertising campaign could focus on how this new screen leaves you "speechless - even if you're Michael Bay."  Again, this will take some careful planning and, of course, Michael's approval.  Having fun, making light of a stumble can have positive PR results because we average humans love it when we can laugh at ourselves and take ourselves a bit less seriously. 

Stay tuned.

Jan. 8 update: WSJ reporting across-the-board challenges ahead for Samsung. 

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