If there has ever been an indication that some people just should not play around in social media, it’s the case of RJ van Spaandonk, the executive director of Core Group, Apple’s representative in South Africa.
Off the back of his less-than-impressive radio interview and his trainsmash foray into Twitter, his petulant article in the Weekender did little other than to underscore his inability to argue the point. Instead of taking the time to address the issues that he acknowledged (“Why do Apple prices seem so much higher in South Africa than in the USA?”), he chose instead to rant about how he was picked on by the Twitter community.
“[…] I quickly found out that I had overestimated the wit and sense of humour of my audience […]”
And that benchmark of “wit” being :
“The idea was to spin a narrative that would begin outrageously, interlacing facts with sarcasm, and then develops into a coherent argument that proves that our company is not overcharging South African consumers.“
Uh-huh. Clearly, Mr van Spaandonk hasn’t heard that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.
From a marketing (and PR) point-of-view, his entire approach boggles the mind. There’s an audience of clearly hostile potential and curent consumers out there, and he chooses to aggravate them further by being sarcastic. He knows that they’re out to vilify him and instead being conciliatory or at least diplomatic, he decides to wind them up further. That’s like walking up to someone in wheelchair and kicking them in the shins for not wanting to play rugby with you.
Mr van Spaandonk’s cack-handed attempt at engaging the Twitter community is only compounded by the aforementioned sulky article. Why not just admit you messed up – without the excuses? Why not just clinb off your high horse and answer the consumer community directly? Or failing all that, why not just say nothing at all?
I’ll leave the last word to Mr van Spaandonk : “My advice: stay away from Twitter.” Yes, I agree. If you’re going to attempt the digital equivalent of slapping your consumers through the face, then by all means stay away from Twitter…and any and all social media. Hopefully he’s decided to take his own advice.
You can read his full article here over at the Antilogic blog.
Full Disclosure: Personally, I’ve always thought Macs were overpriced, which is why I never bought one. Also, I don’t really like Microsoft. I’m a Linux Fan (Mint is my flavour of choice). And yes, I do love my iPod…