Wednesday, January 9, 2008

How to Win Friends and Influence People - LG, TechCrunch, and CES

Someone at the LG booth blew it when the TechCrunch photographer came a'calling at CES. John Biggs writes:

I stopped by the LG booth to take a look at their watch/phone prototype and was quite indelicately turned away. I won’t bother describing the product here because it’s basically the same concept I’ve seen at countless trade shows over the years (”It’s a watch! It’s a phone! It’s a watchphone!), but when I stopped to take a picture two booth reps and then two PR folks stopped me from grabbing images of something that is already widely disseminated.

Perhaps Engadget had an exclusive?

LG's booth seemed to be strangely dominated by mobiles -- and then we found the other half. Though it's not atypical for mega-corps to bring their A-game to CES, LG really broke out the checkbook on its massive installation.

They took 43 pictures, but I didn't feel like looking through all of them to see if a watch phone were present.

And not everyone is responding like lemmings to the perceived slight to TechCrunch. Take Weixi Yen:

Translation: I’m a famous blogger and LG is stupid to have stiff-armed me like I was some 3rd-string free safety. I could have given them great publicity and made them millions, even though the reality is I wouldn’t have because I’ve seen the watch-phone a bajillion times already. In fact, I don’t even know why I tried to take a photo, since watch-phones are a stupid and old idea that I have seen many times before.

I’m pretty sure that the watchphone was sweet, as LG designs some of the best looking products with the best UI. You don’t have to knock on the phone just because you got treated like a normal person.

So, if I follow Yen correctly, normal people should not be allowed to take pictures of stuff they see at CES. I don't know CES' rules, but if they have a no photography rule for a publicity-minded trade show, it's an odd one.

Here's what John C said:

I’m reminded of an episode of Entourage where a geeky blogger with too much power threatens to give Aquaman a bad review because Vinny Chase didn’t bowdown like other movie industry people.

I understand you write for one of the top tech blogs, but I’m sure TC didn’t reach its elite status from garbage posts like this. Just my 2cent

Biggs responded:

Yes, I am a geeky blogger and yes I have a power complex HOWEVER I’m trying to report on the show for you guys and it’s stupid stuff like this that makes electronic reporting so, if not difficult, more frustrating. I’m posting this as a service to folks who are reading and who might be manning booths at PMA or CEATEC or any of the other countless shows out there, encouraging them to rethink photo policies.

Jenn got to the point of the matter:

LG has forbidden unscheduled photography at their CES booth for years and years. I’m surprised they let you leave with one of their hand.

But Al Ramirez observed that what is good for the goose isn't necessarily good for the gander:

Funny considering when I was at Samsung a few years ago some LG Enigneers were trying to take pictures of our new products and tried to rationalize it as “OK” because since they were Korean it was just for national pride.

When I was at the International Association of Identification conference in San Diego last July, there was a bunch of photography going around, including photography of booths and photography of presentations - the slide-by-slide photography kind. Ordinarily this would have just been treated as the usual shenanigans, except for the fact that the FBI was in attendance...and the FBI was engaged in a major procurement at the time...and the FBI was therefore being very, very careful about what they said...and therefore the FBI specifically requested no photography or recording. To my knowledge, no one was sent to Guantanamo Bay for violating the restrictions, but I figure that you don't want to mess with the FBI.

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