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Technology Apology

July 7th, 2010

Broken PhoneHey you – yeah, you. How would you like to have hot coffee spilled all over your fingers and toes? Why don’t you try catching your breath after being thrown at the bottom of a bag and have junk piled high –right, smack on top of you?  Sounds pretty terrible, eh? You wouldn’t do it to yourself, but you do it daily to your technology. Feel pretty guilty? Well you should.  Luckily, it isn’t too late to make amends! Office Depot is providing you with an easy remedy to show your digital devices that you DO care after all, and will vow to protect us from here on out.”

Pretty funny huh?  These are the first words you read when you check out Office Depot’s new microsite, technologyapology.com, dedicated to teaching consumers how to treat there technology devices with care and concern.  Office Depot recently launched a CARAVAN® survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), which found that “one in three working Americans is often required to carry tech items while traveling or on the go. However, forty-five percent of Americans have damaged or totally broken a number of their technology items including mobile phones (29%), ear buds or headsets (22%), PDAs or Smartphones (10%) and laptops (10%).”

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In response to this recklessness in technological device care, Home Depot has launched the “Technology Apology Contest,” where professionals can formally apologize to the technology that they have mistreated in the past and vow to protect it going forward with a 100-300 word apology. 

This microsite is peppered with humorous videos, and a fact sheet about how to protect your technological advices. What’s interesting is that none of these suggestions are really that innovative—they tell you things like keep your hot coffee away from the computer and don’t let pets get near these devices. And if you look a little closer, you will see that the prize for the contest is a messenger bag for your laptop designed to protect all your technological devices. So really, this is all a marketing tactic to get you to buy their bags—and it kind of works.

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This microsite is essentially a page out of the PR 101 handbook and it’s not a shabby effort!  All of a sudden Home Depot is positioning itself as a thought leader in the technology protection industry—breaking out from the walls of the home building industry to provide specific products to protect our prized laptops, cell phones and iPads.   They’ve even gone so far as to launch a survey proving technological device neglect, identifying a crisis they are helping to solve further, solidifying their role as an emerging voice in the technology protection conversation. Great job Home Depot—your microsite is funny and interesting! And in the increasingly wired world we’re living in (as I look at the cracked cell phone sitting on my desk), you’re now a place I may look to for more than just a can of house paint.

Posted Under: Innovation & Technology, Public Relations
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