Gestión de crisis: El caso Ocean Marketing

Hoy quiero hablar de un caso que escandalizó a toda la industria del videojuego el pasado mes de diciembre y del que me hice eco de todos los detalles gracias al excelente artículo recopilatorio de En concreto hoy os traigo el caso de ‘Ocean Marketing’ o como una actitud prepotente y desconsiderada de un “profesional” puede hundir de por vida su carrera y destrozar por completo la imagen de su compañía. Este caso me parece muy interesante debido a la documentación exacta que hay disponible. En pocas ocasiones se tiene acceso externamente a la comunicación directa interna del Origen O. La fuente primera de una crisis de este tipo.

Os pongo en antecedentes.

Los hechos

El pasado 27 de diciembre de 2011 apareció un post en el portal de Penny Arcade, una de las ferias de videojuegos más importantes de Estados Unidos, en el que el co-fundador Mike ‘Gabe’ Krahulik sacaba a la luz una cadena de emails entre un educado cliente, Dave, que quería información sobre el estado de su pedido de un nuevo mando de PlayStation 3 llamado Avenger, y Paul Christoforo, el PR Lead del producto en Ocean Marketing.

Los emails

A continuación os transcribo la ristra de emails tal cual y luego los comento:

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 16, 2011, at 1:34 PM

I ordered 2 of the upcoming PS3 controllers (invoice xxxxxxxxx—Nov 3, 2011). Any chance of getting an update of when these items will ship? I’m not really happy about being forced to pay upfront then have the advertised date of “Early December” be completely missed without any sort of update on availability. I really need one of them for a X-mas present as well. Anyways, looking forward to finally using one of these bad boys. Thanks and happy holidays.


From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 16, 2011 2:45 PM

Dec 17

– Paul Christoforo

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 19, 2011, at 11:02 AM

Thanks for the reply Paul. Can you clarify whether my particular order already sent or if Dec 17 was the first day shipments went out? I have not received any sort of shipping confirmation email or tracking information.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 19, 2011 11:21 AM

They still haven’t shipped yet on the way here from china

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 20, 2011 4:29 PM

So then delivery to customer doors by December 24th is no longer likely correct? Do you have an estimated date of when units will arrive in California? Thanks.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 20, 2011 5:11 PM

They are in the USA now in customs so its wither before or after Christmas.

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011, at 9:47 AM

I noticed the updated info on the webpage, and I don’t understand why there is absolutely no benefit given to those like me who have already ordered, and paid their money. You’ve had my money interest free for nearly two months, yet now ANY new order will get $10 off….meaning I should just cancel my order for 2 controllers, get my money back, then re-order.

My other questions is regarding item compatibility. Ocean Marketing seems to be involved with the Xtendplay controller holder, so I was wondering if the Avenger N-Controller can be used in conjunction with the Xtendplay (for both Xbox and PS3)? Thanks

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 26, 2011 10:14 AM

Yes it can be used with xtend play if you remove the stand and no one is allowed to cancel and re order if we catch anyone doing it we will simply just cancel your order all together and you can buy it retail somewhere else.

Things happen in manufacturing if your unhappy you have 7 days from the day your item ships for a refund. You placed a pre order just like any software title the gets a date moved due to the tweaks and bugs not being worked out and GameStop or any other place holds your cash and im sure you don’t complain to activision or epic games so put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else. The benefit is a token of our appreaciation for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I’ll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.

Daros cuenta que en este punto Dave, el cliente, incluye en copia a Penny Arcade y a periodistas de los principales medios de comunicación especializados en videojuegos como Kotaku o IGN.

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 12:11 PM

Then cancel my order if you want to. I’m making a legitimate complaint about your poor communication and you’re the one stooping to childish levels, a patronizing attitude, and threats. Hell you can’t even get the spelling of my name right.

And Gamespot pre-orders…wow what a terrible comparison. Retailers take a couple dollars IF THAT for you to guarantee your game availability on the release date, whatever that is. That’s the understanding and that’s what you get. Plus, I don’t have to complain to Activision or Epic games about these issues because they’re usually not missing the street dates for their AAA titles.

Now let’s take YOUR situation:
1) You’ve promised a new product based off the design for an existing, working product
2) For the longest time, you’ve stated on your website (your failure to update regularly is another issue) the initial/special/limited batch of your new product by early December, obviously in time for the all-important holiday gift-giving season. I and thousands of other customers GIVE YOU OUR MONEY, INTEREST FREE on the promises you made online.
3) I reach out to you, on Dec 16 (AFTER you have FAILED TO MEET YOUR ADVERTISED DEADLINE AND FAILED TO COMMUNICATE TO ANYONE WHAT THE SITUATION IS) obviously a little frustrated but more curious about when I and other customers can expect the product we paid for.
4) Your reply to me is a cryptic “Dec 17” with absolutely no explanation of what that means. In the mean time you having been using funds from pre-paid customers to complete Research & Development, product redesigns, and manufacturing mis-steps.
5) You force me to follow-up with an email asking for clarification about what “Dec 17” means since the day has passed and I have yet to receive any new information about my order. Now you instead of ANSWERING MY QUESTION OF WHAT THE NEW DELIVERY DATE IS, you tell me the goods have yet to leave China… Why are you telling me this? I’m not your employee I’m your goddamn customer! TELL ME WHAT THAT MEANS IN TERMS OF MY TIME AND WHEN I CAN EXPECT MY PRODUCT I PAID FOR.
6) So great…I have to email you AGAIN trying to get a CLEAR answer from you whether a Dec 24th delivery date is possible and if not, what the new date is. Rinse & repeat: You give me an update of the delivery process (wow, thanks…you haven’t told me anything I don’t know about the order of international shipping procedures) but instead say “…so its wither before or after Christmas.” WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN? GIVE ME A DATE!? One that you’re actually going to follow, because I already see “late Nov to early Dec”; “Dec 17”; and now “CHRISTMAS” in my rear-view mirror.
7) So I guess what’s left for me to do but just wait? Oh but what’s this, you’ve updated your website…Ok at least you’ve clarified the dates more, I can expect my controller my latest first week of January. But now as a “token of our appreciation” to all your “loyal customers” (you mean like customers who put up cash for you hold an use?) you’re giving a $10 coupon. Let me get this straight…so you held my money interest free for 2 months to help bring this product to market, and now some new customer can place an order and pay $10 less than what I paid? You have financially penalized me in two ways for being a “LOYAL CUSTOMER.”

I’m SURE you’re getting tons of other inquiries and I’m sure you’re not enjoying the fact that your product is not out when you wanted it to be. I and everyone else understands that “sh*t happens,” but if you want us to be understanding of that, then you need to keep us in the loop. You’ve already set yourself up for failure by making explicit promises that aren’t even “likely” given that the design and manufacturing are still be refined. Then you make sure you’re going to fail by actually taking all of our money, Not just a little bit….THE WHOLE F*CKIN BEEFALO. Why wouldn’t we trust that you’re going to deliver our merchandise on time? Besides…it’s based off an existing product so how hard can it be? Well as your youtube video shows, making any consumer device is hard and requires many iterations and improvements. But I’m not going to apologize for holding your feet to the fire. You created these expectations by acting like the release was already a done deal and by hiding the fact that it was faaaar from it.

I want my two n-controllers. I 1) PAID FOR THEM 2) WAITED 3) DEALT WITH YOUR UNHELPFUL ASS. I also didn’t want to feel like my trust and loyalty as a customer was being abused and then actually punished in comparison to other customers. But I guess we can’t have it all… so right now I’ll settle for getting my merchandise and hopefully never having to deal with you again. I’ve spent enough time writing this email which I hope you gain some insight from. If you actually do want to screw me over by not fulfilling my order, then I assure you be hearing more from me or people representing me.

You show a surprising lack of business polish for someone who’s quite established, AND an lack of awareness of your customer base: Hardcore gamers. We’re a demanding, vocal customer but the flip side is we’re loyal and eager to spend. It’s lucky for you that I really want this product because it seems really deliver on making the gaming experience more effective and enjoyable. Hell, I want to combine the aventer-controller with the xtend play to make the ugliest, most comfortable, most awesome controller ever. And I’ll still buy the xtend, so let that be a testament to your products, the rise above your poor representation.

-DAVE with a V

p.s. You look really douchy be having one youtube video complaining about the noise of traffic next to your home and then another video showing off your obnoxiously loud rice rocket (which is nice, I gotta hand it ya).

p.p.s. Welcome to the internet, bitch. That’s how I roll.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 26, 2011 2:19 PM

LOL Thanks for the Free PR I know the Editor N Chief of Kotaku , IGN , Engadget I’ll be meeting them at CES .The noise complaint was for people high up on the food chain in a corporate world of real estate you have no clue about. Thanks for the Rice Rocket Compliment too love me some motorcycle . Send that over to Engadget you look like a complete moron swearing and sending your customer service complaints to a magazine as if they will post it or even pay attention do you think you’re the first or the last what are they going to do demand us to tell you were your shipment is or ask for a refund on your behalf … Really … Welcome to the Internet ? Son Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet when you were a sperm in your daddys balls and before it was the internet, thanks for the welcome to message wurd up. Grow up you look like a complete child bro. I Don’t have my controller so im gonna cry to the world … Really ?? Hey take that free time and do something more productive. All you had to do was check the like everyone else , people have inquired but you’re the douchiest of them all J

To all our pre-order customers looking for information on the status of their orders after a busy couple of months The PS3 Avengers are on their way from our Manufacturing plant overseas. We are aware that everyone is anticipating having their Avengers under their Christmas Tree and were doing our best to get these orders shipped out as fast as possible. We appreciate you as loyal customers and for supporting our company. Customers will start receiving their products this week before Christmas and After Christmas and into the New Year. As a token of our appreciation we are offering all our pre-order customers and new customers 10$ off your next order with us just enter Avenger1001 at Checkout. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Oh and FYI When a street date gets pushed by a publisher on a video game you pre ordered do you cry to them too ?

You just got told bitch … welcome to the real internet check kotaku in 2 weeks when they are reviewing free PS3 Avengers we send them as well as G4 and all the other majors hell yeah , don’t forget to check Amazon,, play n trade , Myers , Frys and a ton of other local stores coming your way you think you speak for billions son your just a kid you speak for yourself no one cares what you think that’s why were growing and moving 20-50 thousand controllers a month. We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im stupid hat on. See you at CES , E3 , Pax East ….? Oh wait you have to ask mom and pa dukes your not an industry professional and you have no money on snap you just got told.

En este punto, la referencia a la feria de Penny Arcade, hace que uno de los cofundadores, Mike Krahulic, que estaba en copia intervenga.

From: Mike Krahulik

To: Dave, Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Holy shit this is unbelievable. Dave, if this guy has a booth at Pax east we will cancel it.

From: Dave
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Hey thanks Mike. It’s truly a shame because I think this device is great for gamers with disabilities and problems. I think of Child’s Play and if anyone’s gonna need greater accessibility when using complicated gamepads…it’s sick kids! Shit man, I’m really gonna feel bad if I think that sick children may somewhere down the line have fewer avenger controllers because I got into a pissing match with a sad old man. Please don’t cancel their booth on my account. As much as I hate this asshole, I still WANT his product and think it should be out there. GAH, I wish I was in a position to make a competing product to really stick it to guy.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Hey Mikey,

We’re not renting a booth at pax east this year , bigger and better shows to be at we got nothing from the show . Oh so you know this guy has sold over 500 thousand dollars of product in Dec and is my main distribution arm landing us in GameStop , fry’s , Myers , Best buy , Activision , MLG , play N trade and a lot more . Were in 6 countries and you’re not going to take my money for a booth that’s a crock I can guarantee I’ll get a booth if I want one money buys a lot and connections go even further. He’s a native Bostonian from Little Italy . Who are you again ?

From: Mike Krahulik

To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:08 PM

I am mike krahulik, Pax is my show. Feel free to google me=) I can promise you that you will never have space at any future Pax event.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:33 PM

OK Mike whatever you say lol , are you sure hour not in Boston I spoke to the person who ran the show in Boston last year. If you let some little kid influence you over a pre order then we don’t want to be a your show ,Ill be on the floor anyway so come find me , I’m born and raised in Boston I know the people who run the city inside and out watch the way you talk to people you never know who they know it’s a small industry and everyone knows everyone. Your acting like a douchbag not that it matters pax east pax west , e3 , CES , Gamer Con , SSXW ,Comic Con, Germany I’m all over the place. If we want to be there we will be there with industry badges or with a booth you think I can’t team up with turtle beach , Callibur or Koy Christmas , I can’t get Kevin Kelly to pull some strings or G4 , Paul Eibler Ex CEO of take 2 , Rich Larocco Konami , Cliff Blizinski Epic who were working with on a gears version , Activision who were working with on a MW3 and Spider man Bundle , The Convention Center Owners themselves , Mayor of Boston come on Bud you run a show that’s all you do and lease a center in Cities you have no pull in its all about who you know not what you do. I’ll see space where ever I want , with who I want when I want and where I want so many ways around you and so many connections in this industry its silly. Anyway , I have no issue with you Sean Buckley Engadget, Scott Lowe IGN and the list goes on and on. Little kids unhappy with a PRE ORDER starting trouble and you email that to us , he’s a customer unless you’re his boyfriend then you should side with the company not the customer. Be Careful

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:40 PM

I do run Pax, but I also run a website called penny arcade. It’s kinda popular.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Love penny Arcade !!

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:42 PM

I’m glad you like it! You will be on it tomorrow:)

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Great !! Love PR

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Mike I’m not trying to fight with you I’m really not , you should give me the benefit of the doubt before judging over one person’s bitching . Did I feed into his emails a little bit too much yeah ok . But it’s one person dude for real. No disrespect intended for you , My name is good in this industry and I know a lot of people. I’ll be at CES are you going ?

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Please remove me from this mailing list

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Your spamming me you’re not on a mailing list you idiot ! You sent me an email remember . Make sure you stir up a lot of controversy about us the more the better we needed some drama gets good blood flow going about the new product launch . Your sites amateur at best my son could put together a better site than yours and you run PAX ?? Wow , Ill put my marketing team on a smear campaign of you and your site and your emails , I have about 125 dedicated people to run PR , Blogs , Articles , Videos you have no clue who I am . Thanks again


Muy bien, voy a hacer un breve resumen para los que no dominen la lengua de Shakespeare. Dave, el cliente, reservó en noviembre un nuevo mando para PlayStation 3, especial para jugadores muy diestros. La empresa permitía la reserva(momento en el que cobraba a los clientes) y decía que el producto estaría disponible antes de Navidad. Estando la navidad al caer, y sin que hubiera información alguna en la web de la empresa, Dave decide ponerse en contacto con ellos para tener información. Paul Christoforo, PR Lead del producto en la empresa Ocean Marketing le responde con información vaga. El cliente vuelve a contactarlos solicitando información real y dejando claro que no entiende porque no hay información sobre el producto. El PR vuelve a responderle de forma vaga, dando excusas. El problema empieza cuando el cliente denuncia que se haya sacado una nueva promoción con un descuento para los nuevos pedidos que discrimina a los anteriores (a pesar de que todavía no se hubiesen recibido). Aquí ya empieza a perder el horizonte el PR, posiblemente debido a una situación de gran estrés y ansiedad, sumado a falta de escrúpulos y profesionalidad. Llega un momento en el que el PR se vanagloria de conocer a todo el mundo en la industria, de ser amigo de todos los “peces gordos” y mostrar una actitud prepotente de que “se la suda” el cliente. Llegando a amenazarlo con cancelar su pedido para luego revenderlo en Ebay.

En este punto el cliente ya tiene en copia a muchos medios especializados, así como al cofundador de una de las ferias de videojuegos más importantes de Estados Unidos. Este último decide intervenir y, finalmente, viendo que el PR continua con su despropósito de chulería y prepotencia, comparte con todos los medios la conversación…

Explosión en las redes sociales

Ya os podéis imaginar que pasó a los pocos minutos. Paul Christoforo, el PR, se convirtió en Trending Topic en Estados Unidos y diferentes medios de comunicación escribieron notas descalificándolo, y con él la imagen de su empresa.

Para ejemplo, lo que escribió Scott Lowe, el editor ejecutivo de IGN: “Por favor, abstente de volver a referirte a mi o a IGN como gente que te apoya a ti, tu compañía o a tus clientes. Ya que no cuentas con nuestro apoyo.” “En otro tuit: “Paul Christoforo clama que tiene mi apoyo y el de IGN. Es INFUNDADO. Trabajé con el brevemente y demostró ser nada profesional”.

La reacción a la cada vez más creciente presión hostil en las redes sociales de Christoforo fue la de cambiar el nombre de la cuenta twitter de la compañía (de @OceanMarketting , sí con dos t’s, a @OceanStratagy, sí, con dos a’s), así como eliminar este tuit en los que atacaba a Lowe. Evidentemente, Christoforo ignoraba que una vez publicado un tuit, no hay forma real de borrarlo, ya que cualquiera puede hacer una captura de pantalla…

Fue tal la viralidad de esta crisis, que ese mismo día, la gente de Revision3, dedicados a hacer videos parodiando a la industria del videojuego, publicó su particular versión de lo sucedido:


Tras esto, Christoforo intentó reaccionar enviando esta “disculpa” a Dave, el cliente:

Hey Dave,

I just wanted to apologize for the way our emails progressed from beginning to end , You caught me on an extremely bad day and I had been dealing with 100’s and hundreds of emails trying to explain the situation to everyone on where the product was and you just pushed me a little too much and I should have just apologized and tried to explain things better. Also I had a really bad day losing a friend to an overdose and the stress of my newborn baby and the Holiday ,missing my family and just stressing on getting product out to everyone and why it was held up in customs wore me out.

I am deeply sorry for any disrespect , aggravation or lack of information on the delivery date. We knew when product was leaving china and we were trying to adhere to a strict deadline but due to port issues and air freight issues. The units are domestic now and awaiting pick up at customs . So we missed the 17th deadline and I apologize for that but it was out of my control and besides me no one else was helping me handle the situation so imagine the weight on my shoulders.

I’m not asking for any sympathy just for some understanding and forgiveness , I’m human just like everyone else and made a mistake. I underestimated you and its cost me a lot of trouble thousands of spam emails , a lot of personal bashing , and internet spam and trouble and just overall stress with my wife and newborn. I ask that you please accept my apology as a peace offering I will refund your money and give you your 2 units/Avengers free of charge please help me to get some of this negativity removed or at least my personal name although its already all over the internet and the calls and emails will not stop but any help will be appreciated especially with penny arcade as Mike and edit his own website I owe him an apology too which I will write next.

En pocas palabras se disculpa por todo lo sucedido, por su actitud, ofrece devolver el dinero y regalar dos mandos Avenger completamente gratis. Pero, al final, es donde viene lo interesante: pide al cliente ayuda para “eliminar” los ataques hostiles que está recibiendo…

A continuación, escribe una disculpa a Mike Kahulic, de Penny Arcade:

Hey Mike,

I just wanted to apologize for the way our emails progressed I didn’t know how big your site was and I really didn’t believe you ran Pax , So for what’s its worth I am very sorry. Your post has obviously made my life very difficult and I have not slept yet dealing with all the spam and personal information intrusion as well as my family being smeared on the internet.

If you can please accept my apology and anything you can do to help if not me my son and wife please do. I have apologized to Dave and apologized to you what else can I do please tell me so I can make things good. I obviously care or I would not be emailing you.

Mike Kahulic responde públicamente en su blog: “Creo que hay una gran diferencia entre sentirlo a sentirlo por que te hayan pillado.”

El epílogo de esta historia se veía venir. Paul Christoforo fue despedido de la empresa Ocean Marketing. Evidentemente, sabiendo que nadie en la industria va a querer contratarlo después de esto. El daño realizado a la empresa Ocean Marketing ha sido tan grande que el fabricante del mando Avenger tuvo que emitir un comunicado en el que se desligaba rotundamente tanto de Paul Christoforo y la empresa Ocean Marketing y que no tenía nada que ver con sus estrategias de “marketing”.

Análisis de la crisis

Bien, las conclusiones de esta crisis, son bastante sencillas de extraer. En los tiempos que corren, ningún empleado de una empresa, ostente el cargo que ostente, aunque sea el mismísimo presidente o CEO, puede tratar mal a sus clientes. La prepotencia, arrogancia, chulería y espíritu de “fantasma” son actitudes prohibidas si no queremos que nos suceda algo parecido.

Esta crisis gravísima se podría haber ahorrado con un poco de humildad y saber hacer. El hecho de estar en una situación de estrés y gran tensión no es excusa para no dar un trato adecuado a los clientes. Ya que si se comete un error, a ellos les dará igual nuestra situación interna o personal. Al fin y al cabo, cada uno tiene que lidiar con sus propios problemas y no puede pagar por los de los demás.

Realmente, este es un caso muy atípico, pocas veces alguien incumple todas las reglas básicas de trato al cliente y gestión de su reputación online. Pero nos demuestra que hasta los casos más extremos, que nunca creemos que se puedan dar, suceden. Y es que la estupidez humana a veces no tiene limites.

Mi consejo, en una situación de estrés como la que debió experimentar Paul Christoforo antes de incendiar tu reputación y a su empresa para siempre, es que inspiréis y expiréis las veces que haga falta para calmaros. Releed varias veces vuestros comunicados antes de darle a “enviar”, asegurándoos de que quien domine las teclas sea vuestra sangre fría y no vuestro corazón caliente. Y sobretodo, información, tener constantemente informados a vuestros clientes de lo que estáis realizando para solucionar el problema. No dejéis que ellos hagan cábalas. Facilita mil veces el trabajo decir que estáis trabajando para solucionarlo antes que no decir nada de nada.

Si habéis llegado hasta aquí os doy las gracias por leer esta entrada, creo que es un caso muy interesante y que era necesario darlo a conocer ya que en España nadie se había hecho eco.

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enero 2012