National mobile carrier Sprint came under fire this week after it released an ad on Tuesday, in which one of its customers referred to the company’s rival T-Mobile as “ghetto.”
The video called “Sometimes the truth hurts,” was part of Sprint’s “Listening Tour,” headed by company CEO Marcelo Claure, as he travelled the country asking consumers about their opinions on other mobile carriers.
It didn’t take long for the negative comments to come in on social media, quickly turning the marketing campaign into a PR crisis.
“We’re sharing real comments from real customers. Maybe not the best choice of words by the customer. Not meant to offend anyone,” said Claure trying to defend the video in his initial response to the public outcry on Twitter.
However, as the barrage of negative comments kept coming, Caure apologized, admitting “bad judgment” on his part and taking the video down.
With its latest ad, Sprint joins the broad ranks of brands whose marketing campaigns put their corporate reputations under fire.
This was a clear mistake on the part of Sprint’s communications department. The fact that it was a ‘real comment’ from a ‘real customer’ does not make it OK. Using the term “ghetto” in a derogatory way is definitely inappropriate for any person or company.
Companies should understand that by allowing someone the opportunity to speak from their corporate platforms, they automatically place their brand’s seal of approval on whatever message is being conveyed. So, companies should be mindful of any commentary they bring to the public, as it has the potential to cause real damage to their reputations.
What do you think? Does Sprint’s ad seem offensive to you? Was CEO Marcelo Claure right in trying to defend the video at first? Give us your thoughts in the comments section.