Samsung – From PR disaster to International PR coup in 60 seconds…

But there are still lessons to be learned

It was more than Samsung could have dreamed of. There they were at CES Las Vegas 2014, the world’s biggest consumer electronics jamboree – barring perhaps Mobile World Congress – the Mecca of everything new in mobile, electronics and networking with hundreds of journalists and film crews from every corner of the globe vying with each other to find out just what the Internet of Things really is, and whether anyone will be giving away free 3D printers…

It’s Monday and it’s time for Samsung’s launch of the world’s first curved HDTV. But their event was upstaged by Hollywood legend, Michael Bay, toughman behind The Transformers…with special effects being his forte. Partaking in the Samsung launch, he certainly added something more. But it would seem that without an autocue, Michael Bay has little to say…oops…and with the autocue not working, Michael walked onto the stage…and promptly walked off.

Well, not really. The world’s media was there, the inevitable videos were posted, and the story hit every major mainstream news network with YouTube seeing over 108,000 views as we go to press. And Samsung’s new curved HDTVs appeared in every clip! Maybe we should have a PR version of Murphy’s Law – if things can go wrong they can turn into triumph.

PR lessons to be learned
You need a Plan B – we all know that everything and anything from technology, the weather, no-shows from the media, no presenter, jokes – can go wrong. You need to be prepared.

What ‘wing it’ really means – have ‘saver’ lines locked into your presentations. The Samsung executives should have handled the situation, identified the fault to the audience, had some back-up lines – after all, in the grand order of things, it would have been just a few moments of ad lib in what was a huge and costly launch for the company.

Don’t panic – or your audience will. Just remember that arch-presenter Steve Jobs who in front of an estimated 1,100 people, discovered he really was living in the real world when he didn’t have sufficient WiFi in the room for that iPhone 4 launch demo. He stayed calm and just asked people to turn off their WiFi. And it worked.

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