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. 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.”
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)