HP Wins Social Media award at SXSWi (but not in a good way)

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(As a side note I think our nomination should be withdrawn because technically it happened in 2006 – no?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.

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About Tac Anderson

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.
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  • http://buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Where has HP admitted its mistake?

  • http://buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Where has HP admitted its mistake?

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com Tac Anderson

    Jeff, thanks for the comment,

    Not to mince words with you but I didn’t actually say that “HP admitted” its mistake. I said “we admit” our mistake. HP is not a person. The people involved in that campaign are no longer at HP (at least that I can find) and are therefore no longer in a position to admit a mistake on behalf of HP.

    Most of the people that are now working in this space for HP are so new that none of us even knew about it until the “award”. If you ask any of us we will absolutely admit that it was a mistake and never should have been done. The people who had any visibility to the campaign, that I have talked to, were too far removed to know any of the specific details and also agree that it was bad idea.

    Was the mom requested to acknowledge that this video had been brought to you by HP (which she does state in the video)? Or did she do that on her own? If she was requested to by HP then it’s not an issue of transparency, just an issue of horrible judgment.

    Other than watching the video for the first time today, I don’t know anything about the campaign or the extend that HP used payperpost, so I can’t speak to the intent or planning behind it. I can only share my same distaste for the service that you shared in your original post. And work to regain the trust that someone else’s bad judgment lost us.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com Tac Anderson

    Jeff, thanks for the comment,

    Not to mince words with you but I didn’t actually say that “HP admitted” its mistake. I said “we admit” our mistake. HP is not a person. The people involved in that campaign are no longer at HP (at least that I can find) and are therefore no longer in a position to admit a mistake on behalf of HP.

    Most of the people that are now working in this space for HP are so new that none of us even knew about it until the “award”. If you ask any of us we will absolutely admit that it was a mistake and never should have been done. The people who had any visibility to the campaign, that I have talked to, were too far removed to know any of the specific details and also agree that it was bad idea.

    Was the mom requested to acknowledge that this video had been brought to you by HP (which she does state in the video)? Or did she do that on her own? If she was requested to by HP then it’s not an issue of transparency, just an issue of horrible judgment.

    Other than watching the video for the first time today, I don’t know anything about the campaign or the extend that HP used payperpost, so I can’t speak to the intent or planning behind it. I can only share my same distaste for the service that you shared in your original post. And work to regain the trust that someone else’s bad judgment lost us.