Samsung’s non-existing printer support: Do you have hours to waste?

Saturday, 22 January, 2011

Samsung's non-existing printer support

Background & The SamSung SCX-4828FN Printer

After the sudden death of a HP printer and the horrible HP customer service experiences, I thought it was time to try a new brand of printers and forget HP. Seeing Korean brands are making some good products (TV, monitors, etc), I decided to try a SamSung SCX-4828FN.

For its C$250 price, the Samsung design seems nice and the construction seems solid. And I haven’t seen many bad reviews online (more on this later).

Software and Samsung customer service

* The printer driver software installed without reporting any problem or error (more on this later). And the test page printed ok.

Note: The printer manual CD, unfortunately, is defective and unreadable by the computer (running Windows XP) and Samsung has not included a paper-copy printer manual as a backup.

* Unfortunately, the initial “successful” installation had actually caused at least two hidden problems.

The first problem was discovered right away. The default page alignment for the word processing program was changed, leaving the content of the bottom fifth of each page to be printed on an additional page.

The second problem was more serious and discovered the next day. The printer installation actually caused a critical accounting software to fail to execute and caused it to report an error saying, “XML support not detected. […]

Having never dealt with Samsung printer/technical support, I assumed when the reps were told of these problems, they would be helpful and knowledgeable enough to identify the solutions in minutes. Wrong! The first level support was unhelpful and, to be blunt, clueless. The rep repeated the claim that the printer installation could not have caused these problems. Huh? These programs worked fine before the printer software installation and now they failed afterwards, and the Samsung rep didn’t even have the courtesy to accept and acknowledge their problems!?

The next day, another first level support still insisted it wasn’t Samsung’s problems. And then I was told there was a really really long wait for the second level support reps. No second level support ever called back even after hours of waiting. In passing, I heard that only 5 (yes, just FIVE) reps were working to serve the 1-800-726-7864 Samsung technical help line for all of US *and* Canada! *&^%!!, no wonder there was such a long wait for the second level support rep! Assuming these reps actually know something!

At this point, I was so displeased with Samsung’s technical support that I tweeted, “Samsung has no printer support. Better to avoid Samsung printers. Reps know nothing.” This is just NOT the way I hope to see happening when I try a “new” brand of printers.

Fortunately for me, I was able to find someone knowledgeable to help correct the accounting software problem broken by the beeping Samsung software/driver installer. The wordprocessing software’s default is still messed up but I’ve found a work around.

As I politely told the Samsung customer service representatives, I was displeased with the service I got. But I am much more disappointed with Samsung as a brand. The fact that Samsung has such ineffective printer support lead me to tweet/vent my anger and frustration.

Concluding Thoughts about Samsung printers and Samsung technical support

If you have or work in a small to mid size office, why would you want to consider Samsung printers and risk seeing some of your critical office softwares crashing and failing to startup after installing Samsung printers?

Maybe if your company has a team/department of dedicated IT support technicians, and you don’t mind solving extra problems caused by Samsung and with no help from Samsung. Do you feel that lucky?

P.S. In hindsight, maybe I should have paid more attention to a 10/29/2010 customer’s critique, “Samsung technical support is terrible! and anticipated the clueless Samsung technical support.

P.P.S. Samsung Canada has responded to my tweet. I will update this entry if there are further worthy development to report.


Jan 24, 2011 9:17am Update: A few days later, a Samsung 3rd level tech support finally called back. The rep was nice though. Will see if he can help.

HP = Bad LaserJet Printer and Bad Customer Service

Friday, 21 January, 2011

HP = Bad LaserJet Printer & Bad Customer Service

The broken and unreliable HP LaserJet printer

After the latest breakdown of a HP LaserJet m1522nf multi-function printer and the unprofessional customer service provided, I unfortunately will not consider HP printers anymore.

HP LaserJet used to mean quality and I think my old LaserJet 3330 came with a 2-3 year warranty (more on this later). Unfortunately, the now dead m1522nf only came with one year warranty and it died after only 18 months. The printer couldn’t finish its powering up initialization sequence and the tiny LCD display on the printer wouldn’t even come up. So the HP LaserJet is quite dead after its short life of 18 months.

The broken HP “customer service”

An unreliable and inferior quality product was bad already but what made the situation worst was HP’s broken/substandard “customer service”.

When I first called HP customer service, I still harboured faint hope that HP would stand behind their products, do the right thing and fix the printer free-of-charge even it is just 6 months out of its 12 month warranty. Failing that, I just wanted the customer service rep to provide a case reference number for my record. And this is where HP customer service failed completely.

The Costa Rica based rep and her supervisor refused to provide a case number unless an address, phone number, and email address were provided. As a disappointed customer, I have no interest in giving HP any future business and have no desire to provide them further with my private information. Is this too difficult for HP to appreciate? Read the rest of this entry »

Superstore/Loblaws: “Try it … you’ll love it!” guarantee

Monday, 1 November, 2010

PC Dim Sum - pix 2

Many of Superstore/Loblaws‘ in-store President’s Choice brand of products carry the “Try it … you’ll love it!” guarantee (or money refunded with proof of purchase). I see this as a great promotional method to get customers to try PC brand products and ways to collect customer feedback. The guarantee lead me to try their PC brand of Chinese frozen dim sum.

PC Dim Sum - pix 1

Unfortunately for me and for PC, the frozen dim sum tasted awful and nothing remotely like what you have in a Chinese restaurant or the cheapest frozen dim sum you can buy from Chinatown.

So I took up the PC’s guaranteed offer and called their 1-888 number and managed to get a $10 gift card as refund, saving me the hassle of bringing the box & receipt and lining up at the store for refund.

PC Dim Sum - pix 3

As smart consumers, I think we should take these money back refund guarantees by companies seriously for two reasons. Firstly, if they guarantee we will “love it” and we don’t, they should refund. Secondly and more importantly, I believe by us complaining about the product quality or taste, the complaints allow the companies to improve their product offerrings in the future. Having a monetary cost associated with the complains will give them a better chance to be heard by some mangers somewhere because the money payouts have to be recorded, accounted for, and justified.

Lastly, I should mention that I have tried various President’s Choice products (from various food products, to non-stick pans, and even meat and poultry scissors) and they taste pretty good and work pretty well.

Thanks Loblaws. Thanks for setting a good example of Customer Service Excellence.

Blown away by Apple Chinook?

Friday, 1 October, 2010

Apple Chinook Grand opening, Sept 29, 2010

The Calgary Apple Chinook store opened its door two days ago on Wednesday, 29th Sept. My friend Garry (thanks for above the photo, Garry) was there bright and early at 8am to check out the new store and was one of the lucky ones to get the free Apple Chinook t-shirt. Apparently, the crowd at 8am wasn’t big as most people (~100) were lining up to buy iPhone 4 and some of the 1,000 free t-shirts were still available before 11am.

I went to Apple Chinook in the afternoon and it was buzzing. Was I blown away by the Apple Chinook store? Well, it looks nice and bright, but it is definitely no Apple New York. While the staff were pleasant and helpful but I felt some of the sales staff were not as technically knowledgeable as I had expected. What Apple Chinook will likely do is to add some serious challenge to nearby Apple resellers (e.g. London Drugs, Best Buy, Future Shop) or even other Apple stores in town. Time will tell.

Here out a video of the new store.

Apple Chinook Grand opening, Sept 29, 2010Apple Chinook Grand opening, Sept 29, 2010
Apple Chinook Grand opening, Sept 29, 2010

Oct 3 Update: This Calgary Herald article is worth reading “Customers in line at 3:30 a.m. for new Apple store, Chinook Centre expansion” (with photo). Here is an excerpt (emphasis added),

“People like Jonathan Shonicker, 22.

“I’m here to get an iPhone 4,” said Shonicker, who was the first in line at the Apple store. “Because my phone sucks hard-core. Doesn’t do anything. I don’t care what it costs. It could cost anything I’ll pay it right now. I need a new phone.

Dylan Ostafie, 22, was also at the mall since 3:30 a.m. and first in line at the Apple store.

We randomly decided we wanted an iPhone. They’re sold out everywhere,” he said. “We figured we’d just beat everyone else.”

It is words like “I don’t care what it costs” and “We randomly decided we wanted an iPhone” that give Apple the power that it has over its customers/fans. And it is this kind of power that turns the opening of a “store” into “news”.

More news about the mall’s expansion from CBC “Chinook Centre expansion brings ‘global brands’“.

Herding 100 Cats – an IKEA UK ad/”experiment”

Sunday, 12 September, 2010

Ads that are fun are viewed more and spread more (like on blog like this). [HT Gizmodo] Check out this Guardian article where the ad agency Mother London’s creatives talk about the idea behind the ad. Enjoy.

Not surprisingly to me, an interesting observation is the “making of” YouTube video clips currently has about 10 times more viewing numbers than the ad itself.

The ad.

The “making of”.

Getting help from KitchenAid via Twitter

Thursday, 2 September, 2010

KitchenAid Porcelain Nonstick Cookwares 1/4

KitchenAid Porcelain Nonstick Cookwares 2/4

Note: Photos were taken when we bought these beautiful pans earlier this year. And yes, I know I am a geek that loves to cook. :)

Seriously, we love our KitchenAid appliances, I think I’ve become a better cook ! :) We started with a KitchenAid range and then bought a powerful blender. So when it came time to replace our worn out nonstick pans, we  went shopping around and finally decided to give KitchenAid pans a try.

Because of the lovely design and fire red, we felt in love with the KitchenAid Porcelain Nonstick Cookwares earlier this year and bought them. Unfortunately we ran into problems immediately when we started using them to cook and the problems, again unfortunately, haven’t gone away and in fact have gotten worst over time.

You see, the problems we have are with the pans bulging (seriously bulging) under heat. As I mentioned, we have a nice KitchenAid range. The range has a perfectly flat and easy to clean cooktop. But now, because the pans have bulged and have created a single point of contact instead of a flat bottom, the pans will literally spin on the cooktop. As a result, the bottom of our KitchenAid pans (see photos below) and the cooktop have been scratched. And I do feel a little bit worry/unsafe when I cook with the pans as I have to watch them carefully and don’t let them spin out of control.

Yesterday, I tried to get some help from the nice people from KitchenAid via thier twitter account. This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see them replied promptly. Wow, KitchenAid is listening, very cool.

To help explain the problems, I figured some photos for “show & tell” will help. And as a reporter/blogger, since I got the photos already and twitter is too short to explain things, I thought I might as well write this up as an article.

Dear KitchenAid, you’ve been a lovemark to me in my mind. I hope the nice people at KitchenAid can help me.

P.S. The cooktop has scratched and become quite rough and spilled food get to stick to them more.

The lovely big pan with glass cover (7 months later).

KitchenAid Porcelain Nonstick Cookwares - Pix 3/4

The smaller pan without cover.

KitchenAid Porcelain Nonstick Cookwares 4/4

Colour association (色彩聯想) – 43rd edition of 2weeks1gathering

Friday, 30 July, 2010

Taking colour association (色彩聯想) as a topic, the first thing come to my mind are the “brands” that tried/try to “own” a colour. Here are some examples.

Green by Greenpeace or environmental causes.

Pink by breast cancer foundations.

Blue (Big Blue) by IBM.

Orange by a revolution and a mobile operator.

Yellow by a politician and her revolution. And even I have been using the exact same yellow in my website, something I haven’t talked about much.

Of course, sometimes the colour instead of the ideas behind the colour can become a loaded-baggage like someone being branded “green“, which is why Kevin Roberts has suggested changing from Green to True Blue.

For other writers’ articles, see 2weeks 1gathering.

P.S. Some years ago, possibly after a random chat with my dad, I started to think about colours in reference to the Pantone colour matching system. In hindsight, I think that was a very “business-oriented” and scientific way of thinking about colour.

Good Camera, Bad Tweets – Unfollow Phantom

Wednesday, 28 July, 2010

Good Camera, Bad Tweets - Unfollowing Phantom

If you have the need for it, the super high speed Phantom video cameras (1,455 fps @max res, or 280,000 fps @lower res) can be very useful if you have the money to spend. But I am very disappointed by its Tweets/marketing messages on Twitter.

Seriously, no matter how cool a piece of information may be, you cannot repeat it 7 times (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) in seven days (see note 1) without risking your followers considering all of your tweets annoying spam! There is a line between cool/useful information and complete spam, unfortunately @phantomhispeed has crossed it again and again (knowingly or otherwise). So I have no choice but to unfollow @phantomhispeed.

You see, your Twitter followers are likely to be people who find your products exciting/interesting/worthy of attention/cool already. So why not providing them with fresh reasons/info that your products are cool without annoying them?

If managed properly, so much more can be done with the Phantom brand. And, in my opinion, there are very good potentials for Phantom to become a loved brand online.

note 1: I only looked at the last seven days but I am fairly sure that the information has likely been repeated daily because it was originally published in Feb 2010, and it is still being retweeted daily five months later in July 2010!

At the moment, @phantomhispeed is following 1,924 people and has 794 followers. If I were a betting man, I would bet a dollar that 1,100+ people has unfollowed @phantomhispeed because they just could take the spams anymore.

Fast Lane – Fun Theory (Ads that are fun to watch)

Tuesday, 27 July, 2010

Here are some fun and effective ads. [HT Bud]

Fast Lane – The Slide

Fast Lane – The Shopping Carts

Fast Lane – The Elevator

By the way, the tiny cameras used in the videos are Go Pro’s cameras. Check out my video interview with Nicholas Woodman, Founder and CEO of Go Pro, at 2010 NAB Show.

Samsung Mobile Canada Galaxy S marketing campaign/gambit

Monday, 26 July, 2010

As a follow up to “Samsung Free Galaxy S gambit v. iPhone 4 – Time to go global?“, it looks like Samsung UK isn’t turning the gambit/campaign global (responsible for UK planning only?).

But very interestingly, the @SamsungMobileCA team has reached out to me!

I really think there is a great opportunity for the Canadian @SamsungMobileCA team to improve upon the Samsung UK marketing gambit/campaign. How about sending Galaxy S to more authentic/average “digital influencers”? My point is to be more inclusive/authentic and less cherry-picking.

Dear @SamsungMobileCA, please send some Galaxy S to more average Canadian “Joe & Jane”s. See my tweet reply to @SamsungMobileCA.

(Big disclosure: I’ve asked to have a Galaxy S phone. :)

By the way, there is a BIG announcement coming … Follow and stay tuned to Twitter #SamsungSecret“. Will see what do they have in store for us.

Voluntary Census long-form questionnaire: Wasting 35 years worth of Canadians’ census effort

Tuesday, 20 July, 2010

Statscan 2011 census

Statistics Canada and Census are not typical summer fireside chats topics but Industry Minister Tony Clement managed to create a firestorm around the 2010 Census by changing the long-form questionnaire from mandatory to voluntary.

Concerns & Oppositions

An ad hoc Census coalition of bankers, economists, medical professionals, academics, pollsters and other census users have expressed their collective concern in a coalition letter to Minister Clement, (emphasis added)

“We are greatly concerned about this decision [to replace the Census long-form questionnaire with a new voluntary questionnaire]. Loss of the long-form Census information will cause considerable economic and social costs.

In a phone interview with Census coalition spokesperson Mel Cappe (mp3) (streaming audio), former clerk of the Privy Council from 1999 – 2002, I chatted with Cappe about the process of picking the 2001 census questions and answers. And discussed his group’s concern of a break in the census data series if the filling of the census long-form questionnaire becomes voluntary.

Wasting 35 years worth of Canadians’ census effort

Cappe stated, “For the last 35 years, people have been filling out this long-form of the census in one form or another. And we have been doing this for over 130 years. And now from 2011 forward, we will not have a data point. That means that all those people who filled out the form in the last 35 years did so for nought. Because we won’t have the next point on the series.

How much time would filling the mandatory census long-form questionnaire take? Cappe explained, “20 percent of the population get asked every five years to fill out this form. […] That means once every 25 years, you got to spend about 30 minutes in answering 41 questions.” To most Canadian citizens, spending about 30 minutes once every 25 years is completely reasonable for the public good of Canada and a reasonable duty.

Impact on Canadians’ healthcare

Canadian Medical Association Journal editorial “Ideology trumps evidence with new voluntary survey” states, (emphasis added)

“[Information from the long-form census] provides accurate and reliable data on social trends and issues, including the determinants of health, such as the relationships among income, gender, education, region, work and other factors that influence access to care and health outcomes. In fact, the long-form census is the only source that brings all these variables together and enables researchers to investigate new ways of understanding the determinants of health.

Opposition from within Statscan

According to Globe and Mail’s “Clement accused of misrepresenting census impact – Statscan insiders say Industry Minister’s comments playing down effects of voluntary survey enraged staff“, (emphasis added)

Mr. Clement has said Statscan officials reassured him the agency can manage the 2011 census effectively without forcing some people to fill out the longer version of the form.

That’s not what Mr. Clement has been told, according to a source close to the story who asked not to be identified, and Statscan officials expect chief statistician Munir Sheikh to come to the agency’s defence by saying so. [K: I hope to see the chief statistician’s expert view added in the public discussion real soon.] […]

Don Drummond, a member of Statistics Canada’s advisory council, said “all of us were shocked” by the news that the mandatory long-form census was being abandoned.

The approximately two dozen members of the advisory council are appointed by the industry minister, and advise the agency on how better to carry out its mandate.

Mr. Drummond, who recently stepped down as chief economist of the TD Bank, said the council unanimously believed that abandoning the mandatory long-form census would skew the 2011 results, causing a statistical break with previous surveys that would it make impossible to read and project trends accurately.

Intrusive questions

To justify his decision, Clement claims some of the census questions are intrusive. But what he should have done was to change the wordings or simply rejecting the questions during the census questionnaire refining process (see 2011 Census content determination process on page 10 of the Census Content Consultation Guide (pdf)).

Provincial governments opposing decision to scrap long-form census in favour of a voluntary application

According to CTV News (with video, emphasis added),

The governments of Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island have all come out against the idea, reminding Ottawa that data collected from the mandatory census enables them to draft policy and deliver services.

Canadians’ personal data collected are anonymous and protected by Statistics Act & Privacy Act

Cappe stated, “There has never been a case, in the history of Canada, in the history of Statistic Canada where someone’s personal census data has been released. All that is released are the aggregation by census track so they add them up.  […] Statistic Canada has an unblemished record of keeping to themselves – private – all of the returns of the census.” So some of the questions may seem sensitive but they are never used to identified Canadian individually.

Anecdotal support vs. thoughtful statistical understanding

It is unfortunate to see Clement relying on anecdotal encouragement from supporters (via Twitter Julius, Adam, Patrick, Paul, Chris, Tyler + Elizabeth) instead of putting more emphasis on thoughtful statistical understanding of the long term negative impact his decision.

In response to this user’s tweet, Minister Clement tweeted back “Actually 168,000 felt strongly enough last time about mand long form to refuse on pain of jail. Yet that sample was deemed valid.” Census coalition spokesperson Mel Cappe, in response to Clement’s statement, suggested if Clement thinks prison sentence is too harsh, then may be a fine of $500 for non-compliant can be used. Have a listen to Cappe’s full response in my phone interview (mp3) with him.

Concluding thoughts

I think Cappe said it right and worth repeating here, “For the last 35 years, people have been filling out this long-form of the census in one form or another. […] And now from 2011 forward, we will not have a data point. That means that all those people who filled out the form in the last 35 years did so for nought. Because we won’t have the next point on the series.

It should also be noted that many public and private surveys, including the important Labour Force Survey which tells us employment and unemployment figures in Canada, depend on a statistically valid set of Census of Population.

Now, I think it is safe to say most Canadian citizens, as a duty and for the public good of their country, won’t mind spending about 30-60 minutes once every twenty-five years to fill in a mandatory census long-form questionnaire.


Note: Repeated email questions and phone calls to Statistics Canada have not been returned at press time. It will be interesting to know what has Munir A. Sheikh, Chief Statistician of Canada told Minister Clement? Did the Chief Statistician actually tell Clement that there will be no negative impact by making the long-form voluntary? And previous census results will NOT be less useful as a result this change?


July 21 update:

– “In an op-ed for the Sun, Tony Clement manages to twice cite the fact that the long form census includes a question about the number of bedrooms in one’s dwelling.” This Macleans article explains some legitimate use of the bedrooms data: “… government planners and private developers to develop housing communities and projects … Provincial and municipal governments use this information to measure levels of crowding within households and to develop appropriate housing programs.

– Tony Clement answers questions from Globe and Mail in “Tony Clement clears the air on census”. Clement’s answers seem evasive and less than forthright to me.

July 21, 2010 10:48pm MST update:

– “Munir Sheikh, Canada’s chief statistician, resigns to defend integrity of 2011 Census

– “Canada’s Chief Statistician Resigns Amid Row With Government Over Census“, Bloomberg

– “StatsCan chief quits over census furor“, TorStar

– “Federal statistical folly in full view“, Globe and Mail Editorial

– “StatsCan head quits over census dispute“, CBC News

Apple: removed from “Admired Companies”/Lovemarks list

Monday, 19 July, 2010

Sadly, I am removing Apple from my “Admired Companies”/Lovemarks list. I may still consider buying Apple products in the future but Apple is no longer on my “Admired Companies”/Lovemarks list list and it is definitely not a Lovemark to me anymore.


Removing Apple from list of Admired companies/Lovemarks

Watching Apple’s actions in the recent months (including its app store approval “policies” (note: reversing that one wrong decision didn’t make the fundamental problem go away) and licensing terms “iPhone developer EULA turns programmers into serfs” and “All Your Apps Are Belong to Apple: The iPhone Developer Program License Agreement“), and the final straw of Steve Jobs’ iPhone 4 press conference last Friday (16, July, 2010), I have removed Apple from my list of admired companies (or Lovemarks).


July 25 update: An insightful piece from Guardian “If Apple wants to be a major player it needs to start behaving like one – The iPhone 4 debacle reveals how much Apple has to learn about life at the top”.

Apple iPhone 4 PR messages – How Steve Jobs turned a finger spot into a death grip

Monday, 19 July, 2010

Anyone interested in damage control or PR spinning should watch Steve Jobs’ press conference last Friday. Steve managed to turn an iPhone design flaw into something worthy of global attention and chances to plug Apple and iPhone 4. Too bad it didn’t work for me (Apple: removed from “Admired Companies”/Lovemarks list).

Unfortunately, as this fortune reporter wrote in “How Steve Jobs turned a finger spot into a death grip” (emphasis added),

At the Apple (AAPL) press event on Friday, somehow, right in front of a crowd of journalists (depicted at the end of the Taiwanese video below), the ‘finger spot’ that cut signal somehow turned into a more universal ‘death grip’ which also cuts signal but in just about every mobile device ever made.

More stories:

* “Here’s Your Free Case, Jerk – Apple’s condescending iPhone 4 press conference“,

* RIM to Apple: we don’t have your antenna problem – BlackBerry doesn’t need an insulating case, RIM notes, TorStar

* Handset world: Don’t speak for us, Steve Jobs, cNet

* RIM to Apple: Bull, cNet

* Official statement from RIM [via] (emphasis added),

“Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage.

One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.”

– Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie

* “iPhone rivals call out Steve Jobs“, LA Times

It is so unfortunate that Apple, instead of doing the right thing and admit to its design flaw and fix the problem, it tried to claim other cell phone manufactures have the same problem which is not true because they don’t have an easily accessible single point of failure (where users can easily touch and drop calls at some areas).

P.S. Here is a Fast Company article talking about Steve Jobs’ presentation techniques “Learn Steve Jobs’ Presentation Techniques From iPhone 4 Conference“.

Bad iPhone Top Ten – David Letterman

Thursday, 15 July, 2010

iPhone 4 duct taped - pix 1

iPhone 4 duct taped - pix 2

iPhone 4 is not even available in Calgary/Canada yet and it has reached comedian David Letterman’s Top Ten list as a joke (see video). Apple announced on Wednesday they will have a press conference on Friday to talk about the iPhone 4 and today even a US Senator has decided to tell Apple to offer a free antenna fix.

What hurt the most is probably the jokes and damage on Apple’s brand. No brands/lovemarks are invincible.

PAC-MAN forever! – Sucked up 4.82 million work hours (so far!)

Sunday, 23 May, 2010

Lovely idea but don’t waste/spend too much time playing the 30th anniversary Google PAC-MAN doodle. A win-win cooperation between Google and NAMCO.

May 25, 2010 Update: Google’s Pac-Man logo sucked up 4.82 million work hours

[via Google’s PAC-MAN rules & Celebrating PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday]

Iron Man 2 (How to save yourself $12.50 and 2+ hours?)

Friday, 7 May, 2010

May 7th, 2010 8:00pm update: How to save yourself $12.50 and 2+ hours? Well, after spending $12.50 (actually x 2, so $25) and 2+ hours watching the film, it was a total waste of time and Iron Man 2 was a total disappointment compare to Iron Man.

Avoid if you can and save yourself the money and time.



Trailer 2

Fan created remix. The director liked it enough to give him a paid job to make the next one.

Fan created remix for TV

From WaPo “Talking with Jon Favreau, director of ‘Iron Man 2′”,

Jen Chaney: I know you had seen a remix of an “Iron Man 2” trailerthat one fan did online, and that you actually sort of helped him get hired by Paramount, which is very cool.

Jon Favreau: Here’s what happened. A lot of people said, Hey, check this guy’s thing out. And I looked, and it it was on YouTube. He had taken the trailer and used that and actually made it like what a DJ would do with the music tracks, he did with the video tracks and added music to it. And it was great.

We’re trying to come up with [marketing] ideas for different ways to present the film, I said, Look, here’s a different take on this that I haven’t seen before. Like, this looks so much cooler than what we’re talking about doing. And then, you know, we discussed the feasibility of a reaching out to a guy like that. And because of Twitter, I was able to locate him through the internet. Paramount Marketing reached out to him. They made some sort of a deal. We went back and forth a little bit and he came up with a fantastic piece that we’re actually now going to put on television.

It’s one of those things where the talent rises to the top, it’s something that’s going to be very hopefully cool and helpful for the campaign. Something I certainly like and would like our movie to be associated with and something that could be a career changer for this guy. This is a unique moment.

Jen Chaney: Since you saw the remix trailer clip, I don’t know if you also saw the clip that’s been circulating online with Iron Man punching Hugh Grant. Have you seen that?

Jon Favreau: Oh, yeah. That’s part of a series.

Jen Chaney: That’s right.

Jon Favreau: There’s that one. There’s the one from “Dirty Dancing.” Which is funny because, I’ve got to show it to Clark — Clark Gregg, who plays Coulson in the movie, is actually married to Jennifer Grey so I’m going to have to show it to him.

There’s one of “Titanic,” where he’s sketching her nude and it’s actually Iron Man splayed on the couch. And there’s also the “When Harry Met Sally…” scene

Lexus/Toyota: removed from “Admired Company” list

Wednesday, 14 April, 2010

After previously putting Lexus/Toyota on the watch list for possible downgrade, today, with some reluctance, I’ve eliminated Lexus/Toyota from my personal list of “Admired Companies” and Lovemark: Sample news – “CBC News – Toyota halts sales of Lexus SUV – Rollover hazard attributed to deficient stability control” and “BBC – Toyota suspends sales of Lexus GX 460 worldwide.

July 5, 2010 update: Toyota starts Lexus recall in Japan

July 3, 2010 update: Toyota Announces Recall of 270,000 Vehicles

From CNNMoney “Toyota: New Lexus recall“, “In a recent J.D. Power survey of initial quality, Toyota slipped to 21st place from 6th place last year.”

April 16, 2010 update: Toyota to recall 600,000 Sienna minivans

Cool Nissan Sentra SE-R breaks speed limit in ad by TBWA

Monday, 12 April, 2010

Cool ad. 400K+ views in 9 days. Good job and good idea.

“They wanted to be able to show speed, basically, and there are some challenges with that — they can’t show an actual car driving like that for obvious reasons,” said Trevor Campbell, director of earned media at TBWAToronto, which launched the ad virally last week on Nissan Canada’s YouTube channel.

[HT FP Blog]

AdAge: Customer Service Is Either Great or Terrible?

Tuesday, 23 March, 2010

Had a great time reading AdAge’s “Customer Service Is Either Great or Terrible – Is Anticipating Problems More Effective Than Responding to Them?” Here is an excerpt,

“I traveled extensively a couple weeks ago and suffered the usual indignities and disappointments of uneven customer service. You know the drill so I won’t bore you with details, except one: After a pleasant, issue-free stay at a hoity-toity London hotel, the guy behind the front desk wouldn’t extend my checkout time by an hour. He shrugged apologetically. I will never stay there again.

I’ve realized that I’m about as loyal as a fruit fly is long-lived.

It’s really unfair, if you think about it. The place did dozens of things just fine, if not exceeding my mostly unconscious expectations. But that one customer experience erased all of it and left me with the conclusion that the hotel isn’t worth visiting again. When I complained about it to a friend, he said that I might get a discount if I tweeted my dissatisfaction. This got me thinking about our approach to customer service, and I wanted to throw some questions at the CMO community that I’ve been asking myself:

Is customer experience a relationship or simply a series of events?
I wonder if there’s any collective loyalty beyond the last interaction. […]”

So I left Jonathan a comment.

Hi Jonathan,

Really enjoyed your thought-provoking article. At the same time, I think it is flawed by its incomplete consideration of the social media impact.

In our new social media age,
– The single customer can split/multiply “socially”.
– The single great/terrible experience can amplify/multiply “socially”.
– New and some-what strange metrics of “dis-revenue per employee” and “dis-revenue per customer” need to be created to complement the traditional metrics of “revenue per employee” and “revenue per customer”.

When I can find some time, I will try to finish writing the following business case which I created as a placeholder in Feb 2010 when the Southwest news was hot.
No LUV for Southwest Airlines: How to crash a brand in less than 100 hours in a perfect social media storm – A business case study (draft / beta)

Calgary, Canada

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