Geeklist has had an interesting couple of weeks. It all started with them launching a promotional video showing a pretty woman dancing around in a Geeklist T-shirt and underclothes. Somewhat to their surprise it didn’t go down too well with the many women in the tech industries who used the social media that Geeklist features on to complain.

Then something odd happened. The Geeklist team became defensive and started attacking the people who were tweeting about the T-shirt wearing video, telling them their tone was inappropriate and they should ‘take it offline’.

Finally they saw sense, but not until a darkly brilliant bug report made the rounds of their industry, playing a mind-game with the situation that has become a meme in how not to promote your brand.

So what went wrong?

1. Failure to engage with the client base – not least in that a woman is likely to have pointed out the alternative interpretations of their video (if they’d consulted one)
2. Failure to engage with T-shirt designer – most T-shirt companies, designers and printers have a clear idea how to steer clear of controversy, and a good sense of how close to go to that edge, because they’ve worked with many clients trying to promote themselves (seems Geeklist didn’t consult their designer/printer about their intentions either)
3. Failure to respond to the problem sensibly – when they were challenged on Twitter, Geeklist went after the challengers – failing to notice that in one case, it was a major client who had raised concerns and inflaming the situation even further by being rude to somebody who’s paying their wages …

While they will probably survive this, Geeklist have provided a perfect example of how a simple, low-budget promotional gimmick can blow up in your face if you don’t think it through and get some expert advice!

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