T-Mobile UK: Do you still plan on spending cash with the News of the World? #notw

Today there’s a challenging conundrum sweeping the social media desks at big brands across the United Kingdom. The Corporate Communications Directors are — as I type — looking expectantly at their social media gurus, demanding answers.

Yesterday’s revelations about the News of the World newspaper hacking the voicemail of a missing (and sadly, murdered) teenager has — perhaps predictably — resulted in a small outcry on Twitter. This outcry threatens to ‘go nuclear’ as Chris Lake at e-consultancy points out.

Chris has penned a piece this afternoon asking how brands should respond to this outcry. He also links to this handy tweet-ready page that many consumers are using to register their disgust. Someone has compiled a list of brands who advertise with the News of the World newspaper and created a ‘tweet this’ button for each one, enabling you to whack out tweets-of-disgust in record time and without having to go and find the respective Twitter account names.

Chris reckons there’s two possible responses: Either ignore the messages being received or tackle them head on. He also points out that ignoring enquiries from customers is highly dangerous.

I haven’t issued any tweets on the subject but I can tell you, if I sent a note, I’d be expecting a reply today. And anything other than ‘yes we are removing our spend’ is unacceptable.

That’s the consumer viewpoint.

The business end is a little more challenging. The News of the World is read by squillions of people. It’s got a huge reach on Sunday. Pulling advertising is therefore a rather difficult decision.

I imagine most social media experts will be counselling a direct, open response as soon as possible. I also imagine that the corporate communications folk will be thinking the total opposite.

One of the mobile companies collared in that list is T-Mobile.

Here’s an example of what’s going on — each of these people will be wanting a reply from the operator:

Screen shot 2011 07 05 at 13 21 05

What’s the T-Mobile response?

Silence, obviously.

I wonder how many messages T-Mobile would need to receive before they’d feel compelled to reply?

Will this blow over by 6pm tonight? I wonder.

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  • http://twitter.com/stmcgill Shaun McGill

    Maybe it is an example that consumers view their network providers as more than just suppliers of a service. Many seem to have a loyalty a particular provider and thus they feel that they shouldn’t advertise in the NOTW. The problem is that they will then ask them not to advertise in any related newspaper, of which there are obviously a lot. And then Sky and so on.

    I have no sympathy for the paper or the media empire it belongs to in this instance, but this could go too far. Difficult one.

  • http://benjam.in Ben Smith

    Wise words, but right now all T-Mo have to say is “We’ll await the findings of the police and NI enquiries and make our decisions on the outcome. This is serious and we are aware of how strongly many of our customers feel about this issue.”

    It’s not what people will want to hear but it says “we’re listening”.

  • Mike42

    I think people are able to differentiate between NOTW and the wider sphere. You don’t change pension plan because they have a small stake in Shell etc. (maybe some do).

    The question is, what’s the point: to put people off buying the NOTW forever, or to send a short-term message of fiscal pain to NI that this is unacceptable?

    To me, neither is likely to happen.

    The righteous and Twitterati will feel like they’ve stuck it to the man, but will they bail up their nan or neighbour for having a copy in their shopping trolley? No. Not at all. England’s too polite (well, apart from @bensmithuk:disqus & @dominictravers:twitter of course ;-)

    The only long-term solution is hacks, their PI’s and importantly management knowing there’s a high chance of doing hard time if they engage in this sort of thing. Except management are too smart to let that happen.

    Nice try, world, but methinks it’s BAU at Wapping.

  • http://mHealthInsight.com David Doherty

    Personally I’m surprised that there isn’t more attention on the telco operators whose lax database security and poor privacy settings let this intrusion take place in the first instance.

  • http://twitter.com/DominicTravers dominictravers

    Wapping is home to more titles than the News of World… It’s likely that if justice were truly served on it’s past and present occupants, hundreds of people would go to jail, and rightly so… 

    Most people will feel some indignation about this phone hacking for a couple of days, think twice about buying NoTW, put the kettle on, and get on with watching one of the channels on their Sky TV package.

    I will at least continue to harangue people at supermarket check outs for their media selection when the urge takes me…

    There are content teams at Everything Everywhere that are thoroughly behoven to Murdoch’s media empire… I wouldn’t expect T Mobile to take any kind of stand on this ever.

  • http://benjam.in Ben Smith

    Booya! http://www.tweetdeck.com/twitter/TMobileOfficial/~dIdkD

    Where do I claim my cheque?

  • http://twitter.com/DominicTravers dominictravers

    it’s in the post….

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