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Netflix jumps the gun

When you announce a price increase, timing is everything. Netflix learned that the hard way when they broadcast a 62% price hike – from $9.99 to $15.98 – on their basic discs-and-streaming subscription package. The screaming was heard everywhere from backyard barbeques to CNN.

Netflix’s earning call was today – Monday, July 25, 2011 – and was almost entirely taken up by discussions about their price hike, not about their great share price increase. If they’d waited until today, or tomorrow, to announce their subscription rate hike, they would have looked like really smart business folks. Instead, they wound up being tagged greed-heads.

Over on Mediapost, David Goetzl shares a pretty good breakdown of the why and how of their communication #fail.

Old Spice jumps the sharkold_spice_logo_small

I’m a huge fan of the brilliant “your man could smell like … me!” campaign Old Spice launched in February 2010. Talk about giving an old-school brand a 21st century makeover – it’s a case study in how to create a viral juggernaut.

So now, they announce they’re replacing the new Old Spice Guy, Isaiah Mustafa, with … FABIO? Seriously?

I don’t know what their intended purpose is there. If they’re trying to build a rivalry to juice up the campaign, they could have picked a waaaay better foil for Mustafa than a faded Italian pinup dude whose voice sounds like he’s been inhaling helium. And whose biggest headline was generated by his getting beaned in the beezer by a goose while riding Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens back in … 1999. So now Old Spice is partying like it’s 1999? What fun.

When it comes to successful business storytelling, your message is very important. The timing of that message is critical. Both Old Spice and Netflix offer cautionary tales on how not to jump the gun, or the shark.

That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it …

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