Great Moments in PR FAIL: Ocean Marketing

This Penny Arcade post details one of the worst public relations train wrecks in history. It all starts with a customer enquiring about a controller he paid for well in advance, but quickly escalates into the kind of conversation you don't want to be a part of. Honestly I’ve seen better customer service from people at the DMV..

The customer, who is identified as "Dave," sends an email to Ocean Marketing's Paul Christoforo asking about the PS3 Avenger controllers he's already paid for. He politely asks Paul on Dec. 16 where his controllers are because the advertised release date was "early December" and he has not been informed of any kind of official street date from the company. He also expresses that he is "not happy" with this at all.

An hour later Paul sends Dave an email that simply says "Dec 17." Dave responds by saying the following:

"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."

After a few days of back-and-forth where Paul claims that the controller hasn't shipped from China yet, Dave asks if the December 24 delivery date is no longer correct. Paul tells him on Dec. 20 that the controllers have made it to US Customs: "They are in the USA now in customs so its wither before or after Christmas."

After several more emails from Dave, Paul starts to come unhinged. On Dec. 26 Dave says that he should cancel his order because he hasn't received it yet and has noticed that new customers will get a 10 percent discount. He questions what the benefit to purchasing earthly is at this point. Paul says the following:

"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."

At this point Dave (who the hell is Dan?) is frustrated and lets Paul have it. Paul, who apparently has never worked in customer service, shows Dave how to get himself on the front page of Penny Arcade and how to be ridiculed on Twitter:

"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."

At this point, the emails have been sent to Gabe and Tycho over at Penny Arcade. The mention of PAX EAST catches Gabe's (Mike Krahulik) attention and he decides to send an email to Dave (he cc's Ocean):

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

The next few exchanges between Mike and Paul are crazy. Basically Paul tells the FOUNDER of PAX that he can get a booth if he wants one at PAX EAST because he's well connected in Boston and knows a lot of powerful people in the industry. Here's my favorite part:

"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."

After realizing that who he was talking to Paul changes his tune a little. We'll leave you with the last few exchanges so you get the full effect of the stupidity within:


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

The moral of the story: be careful who you run your mouth to and – more importantly – treat your customers with decency and respect. Because if you don't the internet will make you  famous for being a toolbox. Thanks to Masked Pixelante and everyone else that sent this story in.

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  1. 0
    Craig R. says:

    Well, apparently Eli exists, but he's more or less a kid (although one with probably a bit more maturity than Paul).

    This whole situation is an unmitigated disaster.

  2. 0
    Hevach says:

    N-Control fired this guy already. Somebody named Eli Swartz is now on Twitter desperately trying to do damage control:!/TheSchwartz173

    Half of what he's tweeted so far is disavowing Ocean Marketing, emphasizing that the douchebag was an outside contractor in a third party company who was never part of N-gage and no longer represents N-gage.

    Ocean Marketing also got caught with some pretty serious plagiarism in this mess. Looks like losing what appears to be their only client isn't even the worst of their worries today.

  3. 0
    Zerodash says:

    I've been in online business for almost a decade now, and one thing I noticed is how common douchebags are in "marketing" companies.  So many of them are owned and/or operated by slimy little dipshits who think they are minor celebrities and act like hotshots.

    This jackass from Ocean Marketing is, from my experience, entirely typical of the types of people in random marketing/PR companies.  I especially love how he talks like he is so rich, he can simply buy influence.  More often than not, these companies are barely scraping by because the owner(s) used their business loans to buy cars or barbed-wire tattoos.

    That's why its unfortunately best to go with larger and more established companies for PR work- at least their people have more of a leash to prevent bullshit like this from happening as often.

    In an unrelated note, the rantings by that rep also sound Jack Thompson-esque.  Must be the "I have them right where I want them" type messaging…

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