Looks like Grant Thornton isn’t the only company that is taking the week off. DELL Computers is evidently closed for the holiday week as well. That’s what their message said when I contacted media relations.
I wanted to know when someone finally realized that the TV ad they were running all day Sunday had an unfortunate reference to Tsunamis.
DELL Computers must have bought a very heavy schedule on CNN this past Sunday .It seemed that their commercial popped up during every break.
The ad was a post Christmas ad –targeted to the people who had just gotten a new DELL computer (this was the day after Christmas after all). The purpose of the ad was to reinforce that DELL’s phone support lines are open 24/7 –365…and in the case of leap year, as the ad says 366.
The creative shows a man lying in bed. He’s on the phone with a DELL phone customer service person. It’s obviously in the middle of the night. The guy in bed starts rattling off all sorts of situations that might cause the customer service center to close. He names holidays. The DELL guy says something like “We’ll be here.”
After listing a series of bizarre events, the new computer owner says, ‘what about a tsunami?’
The DELL guy hesitates. Then says, ' yes we’ll be here'. A few more plagues are mentioned and the ad ends with the guy saying “I’ll call back in an hour.”
The first time I heard the ad I wasn’t sure that I heard correctly. The news had been saying Tsunami all day so I thought maybe I imagined it. I didn’t.
Talk about bad luck. Listening to that ad you got the feeling that someone, somewhere in DELL’s advertising department is going. “Holy $#(&!”. Obviously the ad needed to be pulled.
What was supposed to be humorous and entertaining while simultaneously getting across the message of DELL’s commitment to customer service, now sounded horrifically in bad taste. World events made the commercial un-airable.
Unfortunately, it continued to run all day Sunday. The question is…why didn’t someone pull it sooner? Surely I wasn't the only person who noticed the Tsunami reference?
That is what I would have asked if anyone at DELL was working today. I also want to know how many complaints they got on Sunday for the perception of “insensitivity”.
Those answers will have to wait until next week. Meanwhile, DELL is running their pre-holiday ads and probably someone is working overtime to shoot a new commercial that lets new computer users know that DELLs help line is available 24/7. The new ad probably won’t include any natural disasters.