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20 Jun

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AOL’s Creative Response to Similar Yahoo “Play” Release

June 20, 2011 | By | No Comments

In an odd business move last week, Yahoo released an Android music application called “Play” (Friday, June 17th).  Why is this odd? Well because AOL launched a similar Android music application they called “Play,” four months prior to Yahoo’s recent release.

What do you do when another brand copies or emulates a product or service (or even uses the same name) that you have already created? AOL had a perfect response from their extremely funny and social savvy Senior Director of Mobile Projects, Sol Lipman.  Instead of complaining or whining to the media, Lipman took his view to viral video and used sarcastic humor to respond tastefully to a negative situation.  Below is the response video which was posted June 17th, after the Yahoo announcement.

(Update: The video is private so we cannot embed it, but if you click here you may be able view it on YouTube.)

I love how they make fun of the Yahoo team for also copying Shazam, with the proprietary audio fingerprinting technology feature built into the “Play” app.

AOL displayed one great example of the many different ways we can use social media to help with reputation management.  People like Lipman at AOL knew that a classic in-your-face PR response may not help the situation; and that a simple, low cost video would reassure the world that their brand’s original idea was had been reproduced.  It will be interesting to see if there is a response from Yahoo, or if AOL makes any other announcements on the subject.

This issue shows companies that being creative with responses like the AOL video can not only crush any reputation management problems you may have, but also it can help grow your business through positive press and conversations. I hope more businesses learn from this situation and become more creative (especially with product naming)!

What do you think about the AOL vs. Yahoo situation? What other viral responses have you seen that attempted to make humor out of a reputation management matter?

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