One of the great things about HP is that we have a very decentralized style of management. For the most part that leads to us being able to act (relatively) quickly and without too many stamps of approval to do something.
The bad part of that is that at times a well intentioned employee who may not “get it” tries something new without much oversight.
Back in December of 2006 HP apparently used the PayPerPost service, that pays bloggers to blog about their clients. In one such instance a mother had her children destroy a non HP camera. The mother even states that this has been brought to you by HP, it’s pretty obviously a shill.
A year and a half is a long time in this space a lot of lessons have been learned by HP and others. When I asked around about this I was told that the employee responsible for the campaign was no longer at HP, I don’t know if that had anything to do with this event or not (a lot changes in a year and a half).
The sad thing is that the coverage of the award will generate more buzz than the actual video did. The video had about 900 views (that’s a drop in the bucket by YouTube standards and was probably mostly viewed by HP employees), only one comment and two one star ratings. Not exactly a big success.
(As a side note I think our nomination should be withdrawn because technically it happened in 2006 – no? ok)
But the amount of buzz around the award and the reputation to HP’s brand will be much longer lasting.
The take-a-way from this is two fold:
1: Don’t be stupid.
2: If you do something stupid, don’t do it again.
Is HP backing away from Social Media because of this, absolutely not. We admit our mistake and move on. It’s not like every company that produces an incredibly lame commercial quits advertising (as much as we wish they would). You learn your lesson and jump back on the horse. Giddy-up.