A PR Failure: Samsung, You Blew It

The South Korean electronics giant provides an ugly lesson in how NOT to treat the free press

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I go to great lengths to be transparent at post404.  Professional.  Objective.  I believe that for the most part I succeed.

Now and then my opionion is going to creep in, or even dominate the content.  My promise to readers is to be very, very clear on what is fact and what is dogma.  That’s journalism.

Thus when companies have paid my way to events, I have always been respectful to sponsors but at the same time reserved (and freely used) the right of journalistic independence in covering their affairs.

It is in that spirit that I unleash the following outrage.

As was covered on The Next Web today, my good friend and very popular India-dwelling tech blogger Clinton Jeff was essentially held hostage at IFA 2012 in Berlin when Samsung’s public relations operation suffered a major collective brain fart.  And I use “brain” loosely here.  There was nothing smart about their demand that independent bloggers act as company shills or forfeit their airfare and hotel coverage.

And just as I was cooling down from that travesty, I learned of a similar disgrace perpetuated on bloggers invited by “a major Korean brand” to the London Olympics.

This comes after I defended Samsung (although in principle only) in the recent Apple lawsuit.

In addition to the personal efforts described above, I also strive not to be petty or react without due process.  But the affronts described are so grievous, and so indicative of a corrupt corporate culture, that I am now reconsidering future purchases.  For instance, I was torn between Panasonic and Samsung for my next TV; this now has me going with Panasonic.  Thanks, Samsung, for making that easy.

How many others will be similarly outraged and moved?

Samsung, you’re going to have to work really hard at overcoming this sophomoric PR fiasco.  But judging from the arrogance I’ve seen from your representatives lately, I’m not sure you’re going to Get It.

UPDATE: CJ says Nokia took care of him after Samsung failed to.  THAT is how it’s done, and just maybe one good step toward Nokia’s recovery.

UPDATE 2: The Next Web reports that CJ did receive an apology.  What’s notable, though, is that the public statement doesn’t take ownership and indeed, indicates to me that Samsung as a corporation does not Get It.

UPDATE 3: For my personal follow-up see this article.

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Editor-in-Chief. Making tech accessible since the Jurassic. Personal ramblings at texrat.net. Follow @texrat on Twitter.

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  • A person

    It’s the same company that bribes Indian Nokia dealers to become Samsung dealers. Fom that, to copying, to PR bullying like this, Samsung’s dubious ethics have long been on display for those who care to see

    • http://post404.com/ Randall “texrat” Arnold

      Thanks… living in the US, I’m far removed from it and dependent on people like you for this sort of info.