Gurbaksh Chahal | Revenge is Sweet. Really? Lebron James vs. Samsung


Gurbaksh Chahal Thoughts

March 13, 2014

Lebron James vs. Samsung

How should Samsung exact revenge on Lebron James? That was the question being asked by anchors on CNBC after the NBA superstar’s mega-gaffe tweeting about losing all of the data on his phone.

King James, who’s a high profile part of Samsung’s $14 billion marketing campaign, tweeted to his 12 million followers: “My phone just erased everything it had in it and rebooted. One of the sickest feelings I’ve ever had in my life!!!”

The Miami Heat player, who’s a Samsung brand ambassador in the US, and is said to use a Galaxy Note 3, deleted the tweet not long afterwards. But it was too late. It had already gone viral.

LeBron, who uses the handle @KingJames, got his data back with the help of the folks at Samsung who were presumably not amused. He later tweeted: “Close call. Wheew! Got all my info back. Gamer! Lol.”

But two things immediately occurred to me.

Why did the CNBC anchors—even if it was a little tongue-in-cheek—feel the need to solicit ideas for “revenge?” To me that’s a sign of today’s cutthroat business culture. Sure he made a blunder and he should have known better. But revenge? Come on. I’ve never understood the need for revenge professionally or personally. That’s the kind of negative energy that gets you nowhere. He’s the brand ambassador, you don’t seek revenge from your “brand ambassador.” And, plus when did CNBC start reporting on tabloid-esque tweet drama?

Twitter is  a wonderful means of communication. But it needs to be treated with respect. It makes sense to consider what you’re writing before transmitting a message to the world.  Lebron is just the latest example of a celebrity tweeting an impulsive comment that misfires. It’s all too easy to share one’s feelings without applying a filter or at least counting to 10! So, be careful what you put out there—especially if it conflicts with your multi-million dollar endorsement deal.

This wasn’t the only promotional misfire for Samsung of late. If you watched the Oscars you saw host Ellen Degeneres take a celebrity-filled selfie with her Galaxy Note 3. Her tweet of that raked up more than half a million retweets within minutes. But backstage she was reportedly tweeting with her iPhone. Go figure.

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So far there’s no suggestion that Samsung is too peeved about the actions of its star endorsers. The company is taking an adult professional stance.

Over the years other celebrities have not been so lucky. Of course, the transgressions of some of them were somewhat more serious. I’m thinking of examples like swimming superstar, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps who lost his Kelloggs deal after being photographed inhaling from a marijuana pipe. Then there was Michael Vick who lost his contracts with Nike and Coca-Cola even before the infamous dogfighting court case. Madonna experienced the wrath of Pepsi after releasing her controversial “Like a Prayer’ music video. And one more example:  Bruce Willis who was dropped by liquor brand Seagrams. Not good that he was arrested for drunk driving, and later disturbing the peace and assaulting a police officer—even though those charges were dropped.

LeBron James’s goof is not in the same league…but still could’ve been avoidable when you don’t practice impulse.

But, some times we take social media too seriously, and certainly CNBC did this time around.