I may be late to the game with this, but I was in hysterics reading Joel Spolsky’s post Amazing X-Ray Glasses from Sprint! from his excellent blog, Joel on Software. I realize that this blog is frequented by software engineers, a profession I clearly don’t have, but his writing is so good and funny and spot-on that I visit often.
In this post, he gives a review of a new phone that he was given for free from Sprint with the intent, I am sure, to seduce him into writing a great review on his blog (which has a huge following)to help sell thousands of units of their product. But much to the chagrin of whoever thought of contacting him in the first place, he ended up testing the phone and found that he hated it … and wrote an excellent, detailed (and hilarious) scathing review. Here is a tasty morsel:
"When it finally arrived, the physical appearance of the phone was rather disappointing. If you’ve been spoiled by Motorola’s latest phones, or the seamless, screwless, elegant iPod, the LG Fusic will strike you as butt-ugly. Where a Motorola RAZR has a solid case made out of almost sensual matte-black steel that just feels great, the LG Fusic is made out of the cheapest kind of gray plastic, the same material you find on a $3 toy. Where Motorola goes to great lengths to hide the screws, and minimize bumps and seams, the LG Fusic has dozens of ugly protuberances, gaps, holes, screws, seams, etc. Worst of all, the LG Fusic has no less than three of those evil, flimsy, rubbery plug-caps that are connected to the phone by the thinnest of filaments. You know, those stupid rubber plugs that you have to pull away to plug anything into the phone, and then they just dangle there like chicken wattles (when they’re not getting in the way of the thing you’re trying to plug in) for a couple of weeks until they finally tear off. The phone is almost twice as thick as a RAZR. It comes with a break-offable front plate which can be used to change the accent color of the very front of the phone. Your choices are Barbie Pink, Barbie Green, Barbie Blue, and Black which would be the only stylish choice, if only it didn’t clash so badly with the rest of the phone. (Believe me, it is hard to make black clash with anything, but LG did it.) Overall this phone seriously looks like a Fisher Price toy, not a top-of-the-line cell phone."
Such are the wonderful examples of "old" meets "new" media – the opportunity for the truth to come out.
I actually have no idea if Sprint’s PR person was fired over this … the best outcome would be honest, frank and useful conversation inside their company. But I seriously doubt it went down that way.
I do feel kind of bad for everyone who spent energy and effort on this product. It would be very painful to hear a review like this. But most likely, if they are like many corporate bees, they would agree with Joel that the product sucks and would say that they tried to tell the same thing to their management many times and they wouldn’t listen.
So if you are a corporate marketing or PR person and want to entice bloggers to write pitches for your products, beware … you will most likely get the unadulterated truth. What a novel concept.