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.


8 thoughts on “Fatal Marketing & Customer Support – Vodafone Lessons Learnt

  1. Jazakum Allahu Khayran, you said what we all thinking about, this is a direct insult, we cannot make laugh and humor with such thing, but because the trend now is to make the people laugh on anything, they do not touch the point, they feel its not that bad, its laugh !.

    We will continue to tell them to stop it and we will try to boycott their services ISA.

    Thanks again for your concern making tihs great post.

  2. Thanks Mohamed for your comment and I hope we can all learn from each others mistakes.

    Here is one Vodafone customer’s reaction:

    If more customers start doing the same, Vodafone will learn the lesson the hard way. They will know the effect of ignoring or mishandling customers’ requests and complaints.

  3. Pingback: Abbas bin Fernas Vodafone Ad Crashes & Burns

    • Thanks a lot Mohamed, appreciate your nice comment.
      My main aim is to utilize every opportunity to highlight the lessons we can learn from it.

  4. Pingback: The Power of Social Media – Vodafone Egypt felt the heat of it! « Doha Shawki

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