Doing PR isn’t as simple as it looks. It certainly takes a special kind of individual to talk and service both members of the press and potential customers, especially when those customers are rabid, outspoken hardcore gamers. Unfortunately, not everyone has what it takes to do good PR, something that Paul Christoforo from Ocean Marketing found out recently. Paul’s company used to represent (and you’ll find out why in a bit) a company called NCONTROL, the makers of the Avenger controller add-on for PS3 controllers that gives gamers an extra edge when playing FPS games.
The problem arose when one of the people who pre-ordered the Avenger, Dave, emailed Ocean Marketing to try and get a solid shipping date from them for two devices that he ordered. You can read the entire email exchange from the website Penny Arcade (which Dave had looped in when it became apparent that Paul was a complete and utter douche), but we’ve lifted a few choice email quotes here:
From: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 2:19 PM
LOL Thanks for the Free PR I know the Editor N Chief of Kotaku , IGN , Engadget I’ll be meeting them at CES .The noise complaint was for people high up on the food chain in a corporate world of real estate you have no clue about. Thanks for the Rice Rocket Compliment too love me some motorcycle . Send that over to Engadget you look like a complete moron swearing and sending your customer service complaints to a magazine as if they will post it or even pay attention do you think you’re the first or the last what are they going to do demand us to tell you were your shipment is or ask for a refund on your behalf … Really … Welcome to the Internet ? Son Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet when you were a sperm in your daddys balls and before it was the internet, thanks for the welcome to message wurd up. Grow up you look like a complete child bro. I Don’t have my controller so im gonna cry to the world … Really ?? Hey take that free time and do something more productive. All you had to do was check the like everyone else , people have inquired but you’re the douchiest of them all J
To all our pre-order customers looking for information on the status of their orders after a busy couple of months The PS3 Avengers are on their way from our Manufacturing plant overseas. We are aware that everyone is anticipating having their Avengers under their Christmas Tree and were doing our best to get these orders shipped out as fast as possible. We appreciate you as loyal customers and for supporting our company. Customers will start receiving their products this week before Christmas and After Christmas and into the New Year. As a token of our appreciation we are offering all our pre-order customers and new customers 10$ off your next order with us just enter Avenger1001 at Checkout. Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Oh and FYI When a street date gets pushed by a publisher on a video game you pre ordered do you cry to them too ?
You just got told bitch … 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 ….? 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.
There is absolutely no reason for anyone to talk to another person like this, especially in an official capacity and especially to one of your customers. Really? Calling one of your customers bitch? That’s his idea of PR? Needless to say, Dave was not happy, and neither was Mike Krahulik, one of the creators of Penny Arcade, an extremely popular (which is an understatement, really) webcomic that also runs Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), a massive weekend long gaming festival that that literally has thousands of attendees. Even after Mike told Paul who he was, he was still trying to intimidate and bully everyone involved:
From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:33 PM
OK Mike whatever you say lol , are you sure hour not in Boston I spoke to the person who ran the show in Boston last year. If you let some little kid influence you over a pre order then we don’t want to be a your show ,Ill be on the floor anyway so come find me , I’m born and raised in Boston I know the people who run the city inside and out watch the way you talk to people you never know who they know it’s a small industry and everyone knows everyone. Your acting like a douchbag not that it matters pax east pax west , e3 , CES , Gamer Con , SSXW ,Comic Con, Germany I’m all over the place. If we want to be there we will be there with industry badges or with a booth you think I can’t team up with turtle beach , Callibur or Koy Christmas , I can’t get Kevin Kelly to pull some strings or G4 , Paul Eibler Ex CEO of take 2 , Rich Larocco Konami , Cliff Blizinski Epic who were working with on a gears version , Activision who were working with on a MW3 and Spider man Bundle , The Convention Center Owners themselves , Mayor of Boston come on Bud you run a show that’s all you do and lease a center in Cities you have no pull in its all about who you know not what you do. I’ll see space where ever I want , with who I want when I want and where I want so many ways around you and so many connections in this industry its silly. Anyway , I have no issue with you Sean Buckley Engadget, Scott Lowe IGN and the list goes on and on. Little kids unhappy with a PRE ORDER starting trouble and you email that to us , he’s a customer unless you’re his boyfriend then you should side with the company not the customer. Be Careful
It’s probably around this time when the major organizations he managed to name drop found out about his little email rampage and led them to denounce their association with him through Twitter. IGN’s Scott Lowe tweeted “Please refrain from referring to me or IGN as support for you, your company or your clients. You do not have it,” to Ocean Marketing’s twitter account. Kevin Kelly from G4 says the same, as well as Engadget and Kotaku. That, and the understandable fury of netizens on Reddit reached one foreseeable outcome: the eventual sacking of Paul and his company from handling NCONTROL. A tweet from NCONTROL’s Business Development Director says that Paul no longer represents NCONTROL.
To his credit, Paul did apologize to Dave and to Mike about the whole debacle. Unfortunately, it was too late for apologies – the damage has been done, and no company in their right minds will ever do business with his company ever again.
This whole episode is one, big cautionary tale of how NOT to treat your customers. The moral of this story? Treat every customer like God, as one of them may have the capacity to burn your career and everything you’ve ever made to the ground.