Orcon feels the e-heat over Genius as corporate fail escalates

  • Advertising
  • August 31, 2011
  • Ben Fahy
Orcon feels the e-heat over Genius as corporate fail escalates

First Orcon and DraftFCB got a serve from HeyDay for getting the date the internet was born in New Zealand wrong in its recent TVC. And now it's in the eye of a social media storm after its new Genius all-in-one broadband/home phone product proved too popular for its own good, leading to a host of jilted customers venting their displeasure with the telco.

One disgruntled designer has set up a website to show how long he's been waiting and Twitter is abuzz with the link and tech blogger Ben Gracewood has also changed his tune on the product, which was promoted as saving customers $40 a month when it was launched, as a result of the customer service issues he's had to deal with.

Orcon has had a fairly chequered history in terms of its reputation for customer service. But, with Special Group winning the Cannes Grand Prix for Iggy, DraftFCB and Pead PR, it's never lacked good advertising and comms. Still, as a service provider, the most important thing is to provide a solid, reliable, cost-effective service. So it seems there's an element of the classic Bill Bernbach quote 'nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising' (and bad customer service) on display here.

Quentin Reade, Orcon's head of brand and communications, told the NBR the number of ads were reduced in response to the greater than imagined demand for the product. And, when it became clear the call centre couldn't cope, more staff had been hired and trained. And while Orcon seems to be doing the best it can (it responded to all the Geekzone queries), it's not a particularly good look. Added to that, there's nothing modern tech-savvy consumers hate more than being kept waiting. Who knows how many videos of cats they might be missing out on.

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