Did you hear the one about the Galaxy Note 7?
This week I was listening to a podcast about the famous Hoover flight fiasco of 1992.
For those of you too young to remember, I’ll recap what happened.
Nearly a quarter of a century ago some bright sparks at The Hoover Company came up with the brilliant idea to shift a load of surplus stock.
They promised customers who bought more than £100 of their products free airline flights.
The problem is Hoover never anticipated the huge demand the offer would generate and the fiasco cost them millions of pounds plus an immeasurable amount of reputational damage.
The public bought Hoover products like they were going out of fashion, simply because they wanted the free flights.
It was a bad time to get married because one couple reportedly received 12 Hoover vacuum cleaners as wedding presents from guests wanting a cheap holiday!
I was reminded of this with the latest travails of South Korean tech giant Samsung, which has stopped making its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after reports of devices catching fire.
As PR disasters go it’s a shocker for Samsung – although it’s spawned hundreds of cruel jokes on social media.
Just look at Twitter to see images of soldiers throwing Note 7s as grenades and Batmen keen to chuck them in the harbour.
Samsung have announced a new product launch, the Samsung Galaxy 7 grenade! pic.twitter.com/ZLaaAZP8FN— Shane Matthew Neave (@shane25873) October 11, 2016
The problem boils down to the battery. As smartphones handle more and more information, the battery gets hotter and people far cleverer than me haven’t come up with a solution to keep them cool.
So what’s the moral of the story? You’re only as strong as your weakest link and that phrase is as true for sports teams as it is for cutting-edge tech.
Only time will tell if Samsung recovers from fallout of the Galaxy Note 7 disaster, but there’s no denying it has joined Hoover’s free flights as one of the world’s biggest PR disasters.
- Chris Maguire is the editor and co-owner of BusinessCloud. Follow him on Twitter @editor_maguire