Tag Archives: The Coca-Cola Company

The Art of Ambience

I love this idea. A team languishing near the bottom of the fourth division (Coca Cola League Two) of the English soccer league prepares to take on legendary Manchester United by recording the sound of Manchester United’s supporters and blasting it through loudspeakers, as the BBC reports:

Barnet boss Paul Fairclough says his side will not be overawed when they face Manchester United in the Carling Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday.”One of the quirky things we have done is train at our stadium with the crowd noise from the United-Tottenham game piped through the tannoy,” he said.”It made it very difficult for the players to communicate.”But they got used to it. Those sort of things get into the sub-conscious and they will be drawn out when required.

Great idea. Perhaps it’s been done already, but why stop there? Why not blast out similar recordings at matches where spectators have been banned because of prior crowd trouble, or where attendances are down, or supporters aren’t being vocal enough in their chanting? You could build a library of different sounds — clapping, singing, booing, chants lionising individual players — for every occasion.

Jeering the other team’s goalkeeper taking a goalkick, for example, could be automated so fans don’t have to wear out their larynxes. Away supporters could bring their own pocket-sound systems to compete.

Then of course, you’d have the soccer equivalent of a Milli Vanilli lipsync  when the guy in charge of the recordings plays a tape at the wrong time — during a minute’s silence for the early demise of the goalkeeper’s cat, say, or chants eulogising a centre-forward who has already been sold — and everyone would be briefly scandalised.


How To Plug PR Black Holes, Or Steal A Rival’s Customers

Why have I become a Nokia Care Center? Because I wrote a nasty blog post about them a year ago, that’s why. In October 2004 I was not happy with the response of my local Nokia centre, which seemed very cavalier and, well, careless about the data saved on a customer’s phone. Basically, there was no straightforward way for the customer to save their data before it was wiped off during a Care Centre repair. Several angry customers were belatedly waking up to the implications of losing all their phone numbers and other personal data. This struck me as dumb and I wrote about it.

Big mistake. Not because I heard back from Nokia (I never did, as I recall) but because I heard from other customers, all seeming to have some problem with their Nokia phone, and, increasingly, assuming I could do something about it. Nearly 40 so far, which is not a huge amount, but more attention than most of my posts receive. This once happened before, when I wrote about Coca Cola doing some online music venture. It ended up being colonised by semi-literate gamers confusing the post with some online game. I appreciated the traffic but after the posts crossed the lines of vulgarity and legality, I figured it was better to pull the post.

Of course, this kind of thing happens because the comments start figuring in the search engine results, not just the original post, and then the page starts climbing the rankings. A search for “Nokia Care Centres” on Google puts me 4th, way above many Nokia corporate sites, while the U.S. spelling puts me 8th: only one non Nokia site is above me there, a complaint from an expat site in Singapore. That, coupled with all the other hopeful requests added as comments (usually along the lines of “Can u send me Nokia Care Centers in Bangalore?”, the most recent comment of less than an hour ago) push it higher up the rankings and make readers assume such previous pleas for help have been answered. They haven’t, at least not by me, but I’m almost thinking of setting myself up as a Nokia Care Centre.

The bigger question here is: Why is Nokia not monitoring this kind of thing and helping out these customers by either approaching me to post something helpful on their behalf (folks looking for answers should go to this link, or call this number, or send an email here, or whatever) or post a comment themselves to reach these lost souls? Surely someone in Nokia has noticed that their own Nokia Care Centres are getting bypassed on Google, as dozens of unhappy customers cry for help or vent their frustration elsewhere online?

Nokia, please pay one intern to trawl the web for this kind of black hole and the problem could be solved, and a PR blindspot fixed, in before it gets out of hand. (Then there are the rivals: Why has Motorola or Samsung not called me up and asked to advertise on this page, realising they could win over dozens of new customers frustrated by their Nokia experiences? No really, folks. I probably need to mull over the ethical aspects of dissing a company so I can woo advertising from rivals, but after that brief Mulling Period is over, I’m open to all offers.)