Corporations are not exactly known for being delicate...that's why they hire PR firms and lawyers...
Found a story first on Reveries Extra Texture, which got it from the AppleInsider. Most public companies have PR problems time to time, some more than others. What made this article so surprising is that it was a PR problem from Apple. It's been such a long time since Apple Computers have had ANY bad press...they're media darlings, tech gadget darlings, Wall Street darlings. We here at the Jointblog drank the Apple Kool Aid a very long time ago (for me, going back to 1977's Apple II, where I quickly tossed my Tandy and Commodore).
Apple apparently replied to a 9-year-old girl's handwritten letter offering improvements for the iPod (she loves her Nano and just wanted song lyrics viewable) as part of a school assigment and, after a 3-month-long wait, received a cold letter in return from Apple's legal department. The story serves as a reminder to ask yourself "When was the last time we checked the corporate response policies?" With so many corporate communications handled electronically and automatically -- everything from resume receipts to customer commentaries -- it makes sense to periodically test the system with "What ifs" to see how the system works -- or doesn't.
It used to be that stories like this would NEVER see the light of day; now every story is a media story.
From the AppleInsider:
Apple Computer recently held a meeting to discuss changes to its corporate policy after the company sent an upsetting legalese reply to a third-grade girl who had hand-written a letter to chief executive Steve Jobs with her thoughts on improving the iPod.Now, let's be real here: no 9-year-old would be that upset with a 3-month-old letter CEO reply long forgotten by her. No way. From Hilary Duff, then maybe. My guess? The mom was the true upset one...using her daughter to get on the local news. "How dare they treat my daughter this way! I'll show them...where's my makeup and my yoga outfit? George, call The Investigators at channel 5!"
When 9-year-old Shea O'Gorman and her third-grade class began learning about writing business and formal letters, she thought who better to write to than the chief executive of the company that makes her iPod nano.
In her letter to Mr. Jobs, little Shea offered her ideas on how the company could improve on its iPod digital music players, such as adding song lyrics so listeners can sing along to their tunes.
After waiting nearly three months, Shea finally received a reply from Apple's Cupertino, Calif.-based headquarters, and the entire family gathered around to read it.
To the dismay of Shea and her family, the letter wasn't from Mr. Jobs. It was from Mark Aaker, Senior Council of the company's Law Department, telling the third-grader that Apple doesnt accept unsolicited ideas, so she should not send them her suggestions and if she wants to know why, she could read their legal policy posted on the Internet.
"She was very upset, and kinda threw the letter up in the air and ran in her room and slammed her door," the girl's mother told CBS 5 News.
Of course, Apple's policy was instated to protect the company -- and anyone who submits ideas to the company -- from ending up in a costly legal spat if similar ideas are ever adopted into future Apple products. However, you'd think the handwriting of a 9-year-old may have drawn company's lighter side.
Or is that just cynical of me...
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Monday, April 17, 2006,
- At 10:04 AM, said...
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