Fatal Marketing & Customer Support – Vodafone Lessons Learnt

Marketing campaigns if not done right can backfire.  This is what happened to Vodafone Egypt when they put an Ad on their youtube channel making fun of Abbas Ibn Fernas.  The Ad talks about Abbas Ibn Fernas as if he was an idiot who stuck some feathers on his back and flew off and died.  They even tell him no one knows you but us and they show him a page talking about the Wright brothers on the net and tell him that everyone remember those but no one knows him.

Well the mistakes in the Ad are humongous:

1- It shows total ignorance as obviously the one who did it knows nothing about Abbas Ibn Fernas.

2- A lot of people saw it as repelling so it definitely is a bad campaign that gave completely the opposite effect to what they planned for.

Now what is even worse than all the mistakes above is Vodafone’s reaction to their customers when they tried to convey to them their dislike and anger from the Ad.  Let us see the huge mistakes Vodafone fell into:

1- A lot of people started writing against the Ad on facebook, twitter and their blogs.   Vodafone’s reaction was nothing.  When the tweets became more and more, they rushed into replying by defending themselves and saying things like it is just a funny Ad and meant to make you laugh and we see nothing wrong with it.

2- When the criticism started to become more and more they did the worst move ever.  They removed the Ad and then reposted it under a different link so that everyone who wrote about it and added its url will have a broken link! seriously Vodafone people what were you thinking??

3- Some people started calling customer support to tell them to transfer their customers concern to top management and ask them to stop the Ad.  They got answers like: A laughter and taking him lightly and telling him ok as if a mad man is on the phone.  Another one got a lady on the phone telling him “Every time the company you have your line with does an Ad that you don’t like you will switch to a different company? There are only 3 companies what will you do then?”  so all the reactions were basically making fun of the customer and taking his complaint lightly.  below is a picture showing their reply online:

4- Here is a blog http://vodafly.tumblr.com/ where the writer explains the case in details and he listed Vodafone’s management replies.

So to summarize, Vodafone people forgot why they did the Ad in the first place… the Ad is for the customer not for you, so if the customer says it is bad and ask yo to kill it then the only reaction should have been to kill it.

When you stop listening to the customer then you are taking your first steps into your downfall.

Companies should always remember that the way they handle their customers’ anger is what differentiates one company from another.  If you really want to be on the top you have to act the way companies on the top act.  The first thing to do in such a situation is to apologize, stop the Ad and reconsider the whole marketing campaign.

Before I end the post I have to stress on the worst mistake they fell into by deleting customer comments (the ones they didn’t like) on the video on their youtube channel and by removing the video and reposting it to break all links on customers’ posts!!!  these actions show total disrespect to the customer that companies should never fall into.

Inception to the Manager


Just saw Inception – the movie, I enjoyed it a lot although I normally don’t like movies based on an unrealistic idea.  This movie is different though.  Strange enough apart from its main idea and theme and the so many theories written to explain it, the movie inspired me to write this post which has nothing to do with the film itself.

Again I am not writing a commentary on the film and I am not offering an interpretation of it, I am writing some hints and tips to managers that popped to my mind after I saw the film.

  • The idea of the film itself, that one person could dive into someone else’s dream and get some information from him or implant an idea into his head through the dream and make him believe it.  And the idea that people can delve from one level of dreaming into another and end up in a dream inside a dream inside a dream.  Totally unusual and unprecedented and normally no one would ever think of it because it is even not realistic.  But what does this tell any manager? The brain that came up with this idea must be a totally free brain that grew in an environment that nourishes creativity and innovation.  A brain that is never tied up by the musts and must nots. A brain that is not suppressed.  And this is the message I am trying to send to all managers.  Do not suppress your employees, allow room for creativity because you never know what they can come up with.  The most junior employee can help solve an organization’s biggest nightmare or help improve performance if left to be creative.  Allow your employees to THINK and don’t turn them into followers and machines that act as ordered.
  • The idea of implanting an idea inside someone’s head and making him believe it and act accordingly made me also think how powerful our effect is on each other.  We don’t realize how powerful our effect is on each other but it is true.  A manager can totally kill the potential of his employees by making them believe that they can’t ever do anything without him and without his instructions.  Some managers give their employees a very hard time whenever they try to be themselves and not an image of him.  And whenever they try to think outside the box and be innovative, they are killed right away. Given sometime and the more the manager acts this way with his employees the more they believe deep down that they really can’t do anything without him and they start asking him what to do and how to do it in every single detail.  They could even wait and delay some work because they have to ask him first what to do.  They simply become scared of his reaction if they act on their own.  So my second tip to every manager don’t negatively affect your employees and don’t deprive them from realizing their full potential.

Funny how one thing can inspire you with something that is not in anyway related to it 🙂

You Shouldn’t Need To Wield A Gun To Get Customer Service!

Just read this article by Simon Sinek that speaks about customer service:


I loved this statement at the end of the article: “I admire companies with the foresight to prevent complaints not the ones with the systems to deal with them.”

Unfortunately in Egypt companies always work on reactions.  They deal with the complaints when they happen but rarely care to prevent complaints in the first place.  Sorry to say too that most companies even fail to deal with complaints properly!

Here even if we tell the company representative that we are going to end our subscription and go to a competitor they wouldn’t care….It is a sign that employees are not engaged and they don’t feel that they belong to the company, they are just there for the paycheck…and that is a sign of bad management.


Loved the picture in the article too so i borrowed it, imagine having to do this to get customer service 🙂