Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/09/o2_accidental_call/

O2 PR calls Reg readers 'techie nerds'

Mouthpieces say only 'muppets' would ditch O2 for 3

By Bill Ray

Posted in Mobile, 9th April 2008 14:16 GMT

Mobile phone companies are notorious for absurd customer segmentation schemes, but a mis-placed phone call by O2's PR department yesterday showed exactly what they think of The Register and its readers.

We've been talking to O2 a lot lately, and clearly our interest in their "allocated bandwidth" has got them flustered.

So flustered, in fact, they accidentally dialed up an El Reg reporter while still discussing what to tell him.

We were expecting a call from O2, so when it came it was no surprise. But when the caller didn't respond to our repeated greeting we had little choice but to sit back and listen to what was being discussed. This, happily, turned out to be the best way in which to backtrack and rescind statements previously made about the issue in hand, and how best to characterise the Reg's readership.

The discussion, between two in-house PRs, centred around how to paint those wanting more bandwidth than the 128Kb/sec O2 deems suitable as clearly being "a bunch of techie nerds".

Of course, these are communications professionals, so they wisely discuss how to avoid using that term, or as they put it, find "...a good way of saying they're all geeks".

Yes, O2's comms team was keen to avoid anything that might encourage subscribers to leave the telco. Indeed, in their eyes, anyone threatening to leave the network is clearly a "muppet", with the PRs asking each other incredulously "...and join who? 3?"

Well, perhaps they just might.

O2 PR's contempt for the Reg readership happily established, the utter flack-wits only had to decide how best to get the message across, with the dynamic duo deciding against a simple email statement: "I think I'm going to call him as well. I'm not scared of Bill Ray."

Which is just as well. Otherwise, they'd have been equally scared about the consequences of revealing just what you think of your customer base. ®