Last week, Netflix announced that their DVD-by-mail service would be splitting off into a new brand, Qwikster. The name refers to “quick delivery”, according to the release.
Unfortunately, the folks at Netflix didn’t think to check social networks for the availability of the name Qwikster. If they had, they’d likely have noticed the Twitter account belonged to this guy:
Yes, that’s beloved Sesame Street character Elmo getting stoned. Probably not the sort of brand Netflix was looking to project. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom from Qwikster’s Twitter profile:
- “About bored as shyt about to go late to skool n idk wtf I’m wear just threw clothing on-.-“
- “english about boring as shyt tryin to go to soccer already”
What’s worse is that this marketing mis-step, following on the heels of very unpopular price changes, is drawing national media attention. It has even spawned a trending Twitter tag, #Qwiksterout, which people are tweeting as they cancel their Netflix accounts in droves. At the time of this writing, Netflix’s stock price is down 55% from its high (though not as high as Elmo) price just 2 months ago.
The lesson here? If you’re launching a new brand (particularly on a national or global scale), try to pick a name that isn’t already owned on the big social networks. Failing that, you’d be well-served approaching the current owner quietly to work out a private sale of the name long before making a national press release about the brand. You can bet Qwikster, the articulate Sesame Street fan, is dreaming of a 7-figure payout, as he just realized he’s struck oil on his little slice of internet property.