Dave and Mike vs. Ocean Marketing


Pen-and-paper RPG companies have nothing on console video game companies when it comes to– not only bad customer relations, but– incredibly bad, nay, bad-of-Biblical Proportions public relations.

First, we see the string of emails between “Dave”, an innocent customer who pre-ordered some sort of game controller that was intended to be a Christmas present, and Ocean Marketing, whence he was trying to get some idea of when the pre-paid-for controllers would arrive. He got some rude responses, and then Dave sent the emails to Mike Krahulik who, among other things, runs the website http://penny-arcade.com. Mike intervened and was treated to some choice replies by Ocean Marketing (which is apparently a one-man-show, so no convenient excuses about untrained Russian call center operatives). Read it first and then come back. Really, it’s worth reading every… single… word (no worries– I’ll wait).


For those who don’t know, penny-arcade gets as many hits in an hour as my blog gets in a couple of
years and Mike Krahulik runs a couple of jinormous tech conventions in Boston and
someplace out west that isn’t Boston that are, pretty much, Ground Zero for console game companies. Well, turns out that the doofus from Ocean Marketing found out that Mike K. was really who he said he was, and sent a smarmy “If I had known who you were, I would never have been so rude to you, so can I please have my life back?” email, which you can read here (again, read it all… I’ll wait):


Needless to say, Mike K. ain’t biting, and sees a smarmy “I’m sorry I got caught” apology when he sees one, and saw fit to let the rest of the gaming community know about the fracas. And the best part? It’s gone viral. It’s the game industry’s cautionary marketing/PR tale of 2011, just under the wire. Here’s what is currently (as of 11:32 PM on 12/27/2011 ET) on the Ocean Marketing website (note the part I’ve circled in red):

Annnnd, here’s just the first few things you get on Google for “Ocean Marketing”. The full list is pretty much completely negative, and all about the PR disaster that they engendered through trying to bully and out-bitch Penny Arcade:

And the best part? Someone put together a completely sarcastic video about this whole thing less than 12 hours after the incident became public:

I’ve got no dog in this race, but I’m completely serious when I say this. If anyone– ever– at any time– gets an email like those from me in response to some customer service inquiry, I want– nay, demand– you simply reply with “Joe, you’re obviously drunk. Email me tomorrow morning and all is forgiven. Remember Ocean Marketing.”

And the name of this PR and customer service genius? Paul Christoforo (who has now earned himself a dedicated Google News feed!) If I ever find out that he works for a company I am contemplating doing business with in any capacity, I will go out of my way NOT to purchase any of their wares. Ever.

How do you like all your “free publicity” now, asshole? 

UPDATE: Looking for more info on this? (And there is a TON!) You can follow the ongoing saga –> here <–; criminal records, shady business dealings, steroid use… This is just priceless, and it just keeps going!  

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

7 thoughts on “Dave and Mike vs. Ocean Marketing

  1. Instead of the polite and understanding reply, can I have special dispensation to smite you with a turkey leg?

    I'm really not sure why, but it seems appropriate. I blame sleep deprivation.

    Verification: Brians. Couple days late, but points for being close!

  2. Ouch. Derp indeed.

    Wouldn't it be nice if there were some example of fantastic customer service that could get as much free pr in a good way as this guy got in the negative sense. Sometimes if feels like the main power of the Internet is to burn people down when they act like a douche.

  3. I agree, James. I try to point out good customer service here when I'm on the receiving end, but it can't hold a candle to the way this thing is tearing through the Internet.

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