A friend recently asked me if I was going to post something on my blog about Nextflix's woes. I'm not sure I have anything to add that hasn't already been said about one of the greatest marketing disasters since New Coke. Even if Nextflix can pull out of its tailspin, its recent management and PR blunders are going to be the stuff of business school textbooks for decades.
But can we at least talk for a moment about the ridiculous name of its direct-mail DVD service, Qwikster? I immediately thought of Napster and Friendster, ahead of their time like Netflix and now confined to the dustbin of Internet history. Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?
As amusing and perplexing as Netflix's freefall has been, for those of us who work in PR and marketing, it's actually a rather scary proposition. If these guys can screw the pooch like this, then any of us can. Disaster always lurks right around the corner. Don't get me wrong -- we're all responsible for our own ideas, good and bad. But everyone crosses the street without looking both ways once in a while. Every so often we all drift into the next lane without checking our side-view mirror.
If we're lucky, we swerve back just in time to avoid being smashed by the oncoming SUV, blaring its horn at us. That's why we collaborate, that's why we brainstorm. There comes a time when each of us needs someone to save us from ourselves.