By now, you probably know the name of the main sponsor of Wednesday night’s The Games Media Awards. However, you’re likely to know it for the wrong reasons, as Grainger Games’ foray into the gaming events scene didn’t have the positive impact the company was hoping for.
The event turned out to be more damaging than beneficial to the reputation of the national games retail chain. Instead of using its elevated profile at the event to build bridges with key journalists in the gaming media, the team at Grainger Games managed to considerably damage its brand in a matter of hours.
It has been widely reported that some tasteless marketing efforts by Grainger set the completely wrong tone for the evening, but when this was combined with rowdy behaviour from the company’s representatives, the result was to alienate a room full of journalists and industry leaders. As a result, the Grainger team paid a high price yesterday in terms of the coverage devoted to the criticism of its bizaare antics at the event.
In addition to harming Grainger’s reputation, the event has caused problems for the organisers, Intent Media. Credit to Stuart Disney, Intent’s MD, who did his best to set the record straight wasting no time in delivering a statement, complete with advice on how best to air complaints that will undoubtedly continue to pour in for a good while to come. While it’s hardly the follow up that anyone expected to this prestigious industry event, an apology is certainly better than radio silence and will go some way toward making amends.
Sadly, the same can’t be said of Grainger. The following apology was posted to (and then removed from) the company’s Facebook page on Thursday:
We wholeheartedly apologise if we offended anyone at last night's GMAs. It was never our intention to upset anybody. We sponsored the awards to show our support for everyone involved in games media and we continue to value and appreciate all their hard work and commitment.
In contrast with Disney’s statement, this post understandably did little to quell the backlash against Grainger – in order to limit the damage, the company should have taken control of the situation and delivered a fuller, more sincere apology at the earliest opportunity.
Unfortunately, its failure to do so might mean its brand will suffer the consequences for a long time to come.