When Online Public Relations Goes Wrong
In a gutsy move, Amazon.com recently attempted to tackle the beast of Black Friday with its highly touted “Prime Day”. This step in Amazon’s attempt for online domination convinced consumers to sign up for Amazon Prime, the company’s online-subscription shopping service. Subscribers were granted access to one-day deals on July 15th covering everything from designer clothing to in-demand electronics. So was Amazon Prime Day Christmas in July?
Well… apparently not. Despite a 93% increase in U.S. sales, only 42% of social media mentions were positive. And we’re not talking about one or two tweets, people. CNN reports that Prime Day generated about 200,000 social mentions. People took to social media to display their frustrations about how all of the good deals sold out within seconds and what remained left a lot to be desired. (I mean, who doesn’t love waking up at 3:00 am for 15% off a VCR rewinder and dishwasher detergent?)
What started out as a great plan to build Amazon Prime’s subscription base turned into a public relations nightmare and campaign mockery as people compared Prime Day to the futile Lady Edith from Downtown Abbey. The hike in sales was offset by people’s disappointment; it is safe to say that the motivation to get up for Prime Day 2016 will be frighteningly low. While the failure of Prime Day won’t be encouraging Amazon to close the program’s doors any time soon (Prime reportedly has millions of subscribers already), it sounds like they need some PR professionals to clean up their social media mess and build up some better hype for next year. I know of a certain public relations firm in Boston that could do the job…