I have to admit that my mature adult side is warring with my inner adolescent. If you haven’t heard about Gizmodo’s prank at CES, the folks there used a TV-B-Gone clicker to turn off television displays throughout the show. Then Gizmodo edited a video montage of the group’s mischief and posted it for all to see. The video is very funny.
Unfortunately, the Gizmodo crew caused a lot of problems, most notably for Motorola. I happened to be in the room when Motorola executive Jeremy Dale started a press conference last Sunday night only to have several of his displays, including the teleprompter, go down. As you can see in Gizmodo’s video montage, Mr. Dale handled the difficulties very well. However, in such a high-pressure situation, what Gizmodo did is almost unconscionable, and if I were Jeremy Dale, I’d be furious. You just don’t mess with someone’s presentation.
The other thing that’s upsetting about this prank is that when reporters (and yes I am including bloggers in that category) behave badly, it puts people in a very tricky position. Companies are dependent on what the media say about them, which means journalists can get away with a lot while knowing that their targets can’t do much for fear of risking future bad press. Of course in this case, plenty of people have come out of the woodwork to condemn Gizmodo’s actions, but often things don’t play out that way. If you’ve ever been a victim of unfair press, you know.
In the end, I think Motorola came off well here because Mr. Dale made the best of a bad situation, and now everyone knows it. But I hope the company doesn’t have to face something intentionally undermining like that again.
Filed under: CES 2008