Launch Day Woes for PS5

Launch Day Woes for PS5

The arrival of the long awaited and desired PlayStation 5 is officially upon us – that is if you were one of the lucky few who managed to get their hands on one!

The brand new PlayStation 5 was set to be the biggest technology release of 2020 and vouched to introduce ‘a new era of gaming’ with a world of new digital features. After a gap of seven years since the PS4 came around, Sony, the technology giants threw everything at the launch of the new successor which included multiple large scale marketing strategies. The most notable of which was replacing all London Underground signage with recognisable PlayStation branding, including the boisterous decision to showcase this on Oxford Circus – right outside the flagship store of major rivals, Microsoft.

With the whole gaming world anxiously awaiting the launch, what could possibly go wrong? Well, what about a worldwide supply shortage resulting in a frenzy of outraged customers??

All of the leading online retailers such as Argos, Curry’s and John Lewis found themselves in the predicament of being sold out of the unusually large games console before lunch time had even struck. Upon realisation of just how in demand the PS5 was, Curry’s were quick to implement a virtual queuing system which grew strenuously to more than 150,000 people. When the flood gates opened this soon descended into chaos and acrimony when those who managed to brave their way through the queues learned their unfortunate fate that they were to be without the console due to insufficient stock. *Now I know I might fall on the dramatic side but to the outraged customers, this is what their ordeal felt like, (trust me…I have four older brothers)*

To add to the frustration of customers, the high online traffic volumes caused many websites to crash entirely meaning that no purchases could occur at all. John Lewis was among one of the brands who attempted to combat this with an automatic apology to customers, reminding them of the “much-anticipated launch of the new Sony PlayStation.”

As if it was not bad enough that Sony clearly misjudged the supply and demand ratio for those ordering on launch day, even some of those who were savvy enough and PRE-ORDERED the console as early as September were left unhappy as they battled with delivery issues. This sparked rows over who was to blame with gaming retailer, Game issuing an email to customers blaming the courier service for the delivery delays.

To defend themselves, the trusted delivery service Yodel issued a statement outlining their role, “Yodel does not work directly with Game…we have been consistently clear on the order volumes we are able to carry for them and it is deeply disappointing that Yodel’s name has been incorrectly used in an email to customers on the status of orders.” The jury is still out on who’s at fault there…

Things went from bad to worse when some of the fortunate few who managed to bag themselves one of the highly sought after PS5 realised the position of power they were in. Before long, the consoles could be found creeping their way onto second-hand sale sites such at HUGELY inflated prices. For the disc edition that’s RRP is £449.99, bids could be found as high as £1400,00. That’s a 211% INFLATION!!

Throughout the entire ordeal, the absence of an update from Sony left gamers feeling very in the dark. Although asked for a statement, the technology gurus refused to comment. Odd. Only just now, has Sony Executive, Jim Ryan left us with a short and sweet answer that left very much still to be desired, “Everything is sold. Absolutely everything is sold.” This doesn’t make things look too hopeful for those who missed out.

To conclude, I wish you luck if you choose to endeavour in the hunt for the lucrative PS5 but please, please, do not be one of those people who will fall for the crazy Ebay prices…

Eimear Delargy is a final year BSc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter

Oh Polly? More like ‘Oh No Polly!’ How a customer service nightmare shamed the fashion giants…

Oh Polly? More like ‘Oh No Polly!’ How a customer service nightmare shamed the fashion giants…

Way back in April when public displays of NHS appreciation were in their prime, 20-year-old NHS student nurse Lara Harper, found herself at the forefront of PR disaster by taking to Twitter to publicly ‘cancel’ fashion retailers Oh Polly. Things went wrong when the brand ran an exclusive competition to celebrate NHS staff working on the frontline during the strife of Covid-19, then ironically refused to award the winner as she was too busy working…on the frontline…for the NHS?? Something didn’t quite add up!

When receiving the Instagram message to be notified of her prize, Lara also received an invitation to join a virtual Zoom event the following Friday at 4pm, but notified the page that she couldn’t actually attend the event due to having to work a 12 hour shift on the front line. The response to this message took twitter by storm when much to the Internet’s dismay, Oh Polly replied with an apology and informed Lara that she wasn’t eligible for the prize anymore. Users of all ages and genders rushed to the student nurse’s defence and called Oh Polly out for their contradictive behaviour – wanting to show appreciation for NHS workers but then not allowing them to claim the prize when they’re too busy working on the front line and saving lives???

Thousands of twitter users (more than 60,000 in fact) were quick to jump behind Lara and support her disgust in the fashion brand who claims they are, “FOR GIRLS. BY GIRLS”. Many users commented agreeing that the customer service handling in this situation was completely ridiculous with one outraged supporter expressing their dismay by tweeting, “Shocking from the marketing team @ohpolly Hope this gets the negative publicity it deserves.” Given the extreme lengths that the NHS worker’s tweet was able to reach, I don’t think this is something that will be forgotten in any hurry!

The ‘Oh Polly’ Twitter page had no choice other than to publicly address their error and admit that they had made a huge mistake with their handling of the NHS competition. A thread of three tweets was published to cover their backs and explain what they believed had happened. Despite reacting quickly to the backlash that was being received, offering a written apology and taking responsibility for incident  as well as attempting to offer a solution, the damage was already done. Again, other Twitter users came out in full force to criticise the fashion giants.

To add to the humiliation of the brand, huge competitors such as ‘Pretty Little Thing’ decided to get a piece of the action and use Oh Polly’s customer service crisis as a strong marketing strategy by gaining customer’s respect. They reached out on Twitter and wrote: “Lara, we want to celebrate YOU & all the incredible things you are doing right now. DM us for a pretty little parcel. You deserve it Love PLT.”

This was a clever way of using the opportunity to subtly throw shade at their competitors but also showing full support of the 20 year-old, who at the time of the ordeal had only just began working for the health service after completing her placement as a Glasgow Caledonian University student.

In addition to large retailers, many small and start up businesses utilised the situation by offering Lara free care packages and took this as an opportunity to get their name’s out there. These kinds of comments were also well received by the public and gained numerous comments of positive feedback during a time deep negativity and uncertainty. I’m just glad that some positivity was able to come from such a disastrous situation!

Post apology from the boujee fashion brand, Lara came to Twitter to inform her rally of supporters that she said she would, “Take the new outfit that they were offering but wouldn’t be shopping with Oh Polly again.”

To be honest, I really don’t blame you Lara after this real life fashion dilemma…

Eimear Delargy is a final year BSc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter