Posted by Jim Martin 27 March 2014
HTC One M8 launch: kudos to HTC for a brilliant PR win
On Tuesday 25th March, Twitter feeds were all but hijacked for most of the afternoon by news of the new HTC One M8 smartphone. As well as live blogs covering the launch, tech journos the world over tweeted out their reviews and videos, rendering just about everything else in the feed pointless.
Just how did HTC – a relative lightweight in the global smartphone business - manage to generate Apple- and Samsung-like levels of coverage?
The synchronised US and UK launches certainly helped. While CEO Peter Chou took the stage in NYC, Chairwoman Cher Wang announced the One M8 to the audience in London, with both event being broadcast live on the web.
There were even in-store launch events, such as in the Three store in the tube station at High Street Kensington.
But the real win came from allowing the press to get their hands on the phone a couple of weeks beforehand, under strict instructions not to publish anything about it, including its name, specification or features. (There were the inevitable leaks, but as with the iPhone, no-one could be sure that the leaked images and specs were genuine.)
With hands-on reviews, photos and videos prepared for launch day, it was a simple case of flicking the switch to make all the content live when the embargo lifted at 15:15 GMT.
And with so much content appearing at once, and Twitter the best way to promote it, it wasn’t too surprising to find the feeds of gadget-fiends lighting up with HTC hashtags.
The final piece of PR brilliance was to make the phone available for sale immediately. Not in 12 weeks’ time. Punters – at least those in London – could head to a Carphone Warehouse and walk away the product they’d literally only just heard about.
This, despite the smartphone being only a relatively minor tweaking of last year’s model. It’s not a bad device in any respect, but it just goes to show what can be done with some cunning marketing.