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Netflix Botches Canadian Launch PR

Netflix, which has become one of the top players in the streaming and DVD rental markets through a series of savvy business moves, made an uncharacteristic PR gaffe last week during the launch of its Canadian service.

The launch event, held in Toronto, featured a group of excited “fans” of Netflix that were quickly discovered by the media to be hired actors. A handout that was given to the extras by Netflix revealed that the actors were requested to fill certain roles, including “mothers, film buffs, tech geeks, couch potatoes.” The actors were also instructed to be enthusiastic, “particularly if asked by media to do any interviews.”

A presumably red-faced Steve Swasey, Netflix’s VP of Corporate Communications, penned the following apology on his company’s official blog after the story got out:

“The launch included the shooting of a corporate video with some hired extras, who, it turns out, were given improper direction to talk with the news media about their enthusiasm for the Netflix service. This was a mistake and was not intended to be part of our launch plan.
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Simply put: we blew it. We didn’t intend to mislead the media or the public, and we can understand why some have raised questions. We’re sorry that our misfire has given Canadians any reasons to doubt our authenticity or our sincerity.
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A major misstep, or just a small blunder that will be forgotten by next week? My vote’s on the latter, but it still has to be embarrassing for an otherwise canny player to have its paid “fans” sussed out by the press. Give us your take in the comments, Insiders.

(via Crave Online)

7 Responses to “Netflix Botches Canadian Launch PR”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    tinybrat [visitor]

    Not really a big deal.. All of their commercials feature paid “fans” as well. Thats just normal business when shooting ads.

  2. Member [Join Now]

    Well, it’s not a good way to introduce yourself to one of the biggest countries, but I think it will be forgotten about soon.

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Wesley [visitor]

    I vote for “Major misstep that will be forgotten by next week.”

    The idea that something this well planned could be a mistake is laughable and I frankly don’t believe it. However, admitting that they blew it is the best move they could make.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    Richard [visitor]

    I agree that this will be forgotten next week, not sure I would call it a major misstep. So what, something didn’t go as planned. Now you just move on to plan B, there is a plan B isn’t there? or you pick yourself up and brush yourself off, smile, and jump back into the race. Good luck nexflix or was that nextflop? Whatever the case Nexflix don’t let your next attemp be a next flop!

  5. Member [Join Now]
    FallonaBottom [fallonabottom]

    Couldn’t they find real fans to use? I’m sure there are plenty of Netflix fans out there.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      rb [visitor]

      Think this PR stunk will be forgotten in a blink. You know those commercials on tv that show a group of people coming out of the movie theater after having just seen a new movie are basically all actors too. Whether they actually liked the movie or not, they are paid to say the movie was EXCELLENT!