Yesterday, the Internet got a heaping helping of drama courtesy of one frustrated customer and the behavior of one PR and marketing “expert.” Paul Christoforo took the concept of even bad publicity being good publicity and completely ran off a cliff with it.
You can catch the better summation of the deal in our coverage from yesterday. In a nutshell, one customer contacted a company after ordering a controller add-on and not receiving it. The responder to his complaints, Christoforo, handled the customer horribly. Christoforo name dropped editors at top gaming publications, called the customer a child, told him his purchases were meaningless and was a generally unprofessional mess.
The customer sent that email exchange to several gaming publications and it went viral…quickly. Paul changed his Twitter handle from @OceanMarketting to @OceanStratagy (we can’t even make that part up) in response to the internet’s outrage.
Now, as Kotaku is reporting, Christoforo and Ocean Marketing have been terminated. Kotaku contacted the company behind the controller add-on and got this response from the inventor and owner of the Avenger Controller, David Kotkin:
“We apologize for our poor representation from Ocean Marketing…We wanted to give Paul a chance. He was rough around the edges, but he had drive and enthusiasm. However his behavior was unprovoked, unnecessary, and unforgivable. We are no longer represented by Ocean Marketing.”
Kotaku learned that Paul was initially hired based on his talk and his insistence that he knew people at different companies like GameStop and Best Buy. The blog contacted Brandon Leidel, the Director of Marketing for The HAND Company (one that worked with the Avenger Controller), and eventually got to this apt description of Mr. Christoforo:
“Paul Cristoforo…is a street thug masquerading as a self proclaimed “Marketing Professional”. This guy is a complete fool and somehow strong armed his way into working with the company so we walked away. I am not surprised in the slightest bit by what’s going on right now. In fact, we told the owners of the company on many occasions that this would eventually happen.”
Here’s Penny Arcade’s Gabe on Twitter concerning Paul’s apology:
“yup I did get an apology from Paul. There is a difference between being sorry and being sorry you got caught.”
Now that Paul has been canned, the only thing left to settle in the wake of this incident is the fate of the Avenger add-on. The device was made with disabled gamers in mind; it gives those that can’t play video games a means of doing so. The unit works, by most accounts, but has seen its strong Amazon rating tumble from a 4.5 to a 1.5 since news of this drama broke.