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Netflix Drops The Ball On Canadian Launch Event

For months we heard the rumours that online video streaming service was coming to Canada as we covered on Profectio, many readers also wondered how the telcos would respond. Rogers put a cap in their axx, opps, put a cap on the download bandwidth rates. Which really says that Rogers is scared of competition. However Netflix themselves (or maybe one of the agencies behind them) dropped the ball by hiring actors to pose as attendees at their launch event last week in downtown Toronto. The stunt was discovered by journalists, bloggers and made its way to Twitter which made it an instant viral story, which was picked up by a number of blogs and traditional media outlets across North America. The hired actors were to be on site and as as mothers, techies, bloggers, and look really excited about Netflix arriving, they were even provided a script. I was able to make pass by the event, unfortunately I missed “the show,” but did see members from their Canadian public relations agency (Media Profile) and event street team (Spider Marketing).

Steve Swasey, Vice President of Corporate Communicates added on the company blog, “we blew it”, “We’re sorry that our misfire has given Canadians any reasons to doubt our authenticity or our sincerity.” The post has generated over 150 comments and counting, many of which are congratulating Netflix for honing up to their mistake.

Let’s be honest, as a public relations professional when your client wants to have a launch event with a bang you sit there and thing of all the possible options, unfortunately they got caught with their hand in the candy jar, but they quickly owned up to the mistake and I’m sure Canadians be the forgiving type we are will move on. Netflix has been a force in the United States with over 15 million subscribers and growing.

Lesson To Learn:

  • Don’t hire actors or fake audiences to be involved in your product
  • Be authentic.
  • If it is a good product, they will come (remember Field of Dreams).

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