Posted on December 27, 2011, Ross Lincoln Ocean Marketing Delivers The Biggest PR FAIL In History
Prepare yourselves for what may be the greatest PR debacle the world may ever see. In a post aptly entitled Just Wow!, Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik shared an exchange between a reader named Dave and Ocean Marketing’s Paul Christoforo that defies belief and almost description.
Dave had pre-ordered 2 N-Control PS3 controllers for Christmas through Ocean Marketing. The thing is, Ocean Marketing required that purchasers pay the full amount, not cheap, but promised in return that they would be available and shipped before Christmas. With the day swiftly approaching, the promised ship date passed without any word from OM about the delay. Dave reached out to them for explanation and for an update as to when he’d be receiving them. What followed is an ever escalating chain of insults, bragging, dismissals and delusional statements that has likely resulted in the ruin of Ocean Marketing and the end of Christoforo’s career in PR.
Dave’s first email was rather straightforward. “I ordered 2 of the upcoming PS3 controllers (invoice xxxxxxxxx—Nov 3, 2011),” it read. “Any chance of getting an update of when these items will ship? I’m not really happy about being forced to pay upfront then have the advertised date of “Early December” be completely missed without any sort of update on availability. I really need one of them for a X-mas present as well. Anyways, looking forward to finally using one of these bad boys. Thanks and happy holidays.”
He very quickly received a terse reply* containing nothing but a date (December 17th) and Paul Christoforo’s signature. Dave responded equally reasonably, saying “Thanks for the reply Paul. Can you clarify whether my particular order already sent or if Dec 17 was the first day shipments went out? I have not received any sort of shipping confirmation email or tracking information.” Paul, apparently new to the customer relations game, responded with a very terse “They still haven’t shipped yet on the way here from china”, and yes, he sent this sans punctuation.
Obviously, this didn’t answer any of Dave’s questions, so probing further, he asked again, and received a typo-ridden, condescending reply, leading to a further exchange in which Paul misspelled Dave’s name as ‘Dan’. By this point, Dave is understandably upset and responded to Paul with a request for a refund and a detailed accounting of the problem’s he’d experienced up to that point. He also included a few insults, but having been insulted and condescended to, not to mention having spent pretty penny on controllers that increasingly looked never to arrive, it’s understandable. Paul, however, has no excuse. And it is at this moment when things became truly surreal.
His response wasn’t suitable for a high school mash note. “You just got told bitch”, he said in part. “Welcome to the real internet check kotaku in 2 weeks when they are reviewing free PS3 Avengers we send them as well as G4 and all the other majors hell yeah , don’t forget to check Amazon, gamestop.com, play n trade , Myers , Frys and a ton of other local stores coming your way you think you speak for billions son your just a kid you speak for yourself no one cares what you think that’s why were growing and moving 20-50 thousand controllers a month. We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im stupid hat on. See you at CES , E3 , Pax East ….?”
Crazy stuff, but Paul couldn’t just stop. He closed the reply with “Oh wait you have to ask mom and pa dukes your not an industry professional and you have no money on snap you just got told,” proving that the average MBA candidate is as douchey as you thought. The thing is, by this point, Dave had forwarded his conversation thus far to Mike Krahulik. The PAX East comment grabbed Krahulik’s attention, so he responded to all concerned with a very appropriate “Holy shit this is unbelievable. Dave, if this guy has a booth at Pax east we will cancel it.”
To repeat what comes next would be to ruin the joke. Head over to Penny Arcade to bask in the whole thing. Suffice to say, things got significantly out of control. To the point where Christophoro called IGN’s Scott Lowe a douchebag on Twitter for all the world to see and accused Penny Arcade of running a smear campaign for informing him that they would be posting his own words exactly as he said them. Which they did, earlier today. The fallout has been absolutely spectacular.
* This story exploded online. Paul Christoforo was turned into a public laughingstock.
* Kotaku and IGN both publicly denounced him and Ocean Marketing.
* Too late, though. David Kotkin, inventor of the controller in question has fired Ocean Marketing and posted a public apology. “We apologize for our poor representation from Ocean Marketing. We wanted to give Paul a chance. He was rough around the edges, but he had drive and enthusiasm. However his behavior was unprovoked, unnecessary, and unforgivable. We are no longer represented by Ocean Marketing.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how someone ruins their entire career in real time.
H/T The Examiner for their comprehensive timeline.
* corrected: previously the response was incorrectly described as ‘Blank’. Thanks to HiEv for pointing out the error.