Rogers fights off negative iPhone press

TORONTO: A cross-country, coordinated media effort helped mitigate the negative buzz surrounding the Canadian launch of iPhone, which went on sale worldwide to great fanfare July 11.

TORONTO: A cross-country, coordinated media effort helped mitigate the negative buzz surrounding the Canadian launch of iPhone, which went on sale worldwide to great fanfare July 11.

Rogers Communications, the exclusive carrier of iPhone in Canada, faced a heap of negative media coverage after it revealed its pricing plans. Bloggers and an online petition, at ruinediphone.com signed by over 60,000 people, fuelled the bad buzz. Two days before launch, Rogers announced an affordable limited-time offer price promotion, and that six locations across the country would open early to accommodate shoppers.

On the day of launch, PR executives from Rogers Wireless and AOR Manning Selvage & Lee helped coordinate media interviews on-site at those locations. In Halifax, for example, the team connected a reporter from The Globe and Mail with the first iPhone buyer.

The resulting story, “Meet Canada's first iPhone buyer”, had a quote from the buyer saying he didn't remember his first kiss, but he hoped to remember his first iPhone purchase. Much of the mainstream coverage on day of launch was positive, focusing on ecstatic iPhone buyers and the fact that many store locations sold out of the device.

Liz Hamilton, director of corporate communications at Rogers, said that the company was happy with the customer turnout and media coverage.

“If you think of everything that has gone over the last week, it's been pretty overwhelming,” said Hamilton, who said she and the rest of the communications team were up at about 4 am to get ready for the launch. “We've had thousands of e-mails and phone calls; people are so passionate about this device. It really is an eye-opener to see how this brand can take over your emotions like that.”

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