There are numerous strategies to promote the launch of a new
product. Some companies use teaser advertisements to generate
interest in the lead up to the launch. Other companies keep the
product a secret until launch day. In the digital age we live in,
adopting the wrong strategy could result in significant brand
Take Thermomix as an example. Thermomix is a kitchen appliance
that combines 12 different functions in one model including mixing,
chopping, blending and cooking. They launched the new version of
Thermomix on Saturday, 6 September 2014. The new version was
promoted as being "newer, bigger, better and more digitally
advanced" than the version before it.
Thermomix released the new version without any prior warning. As
you would appreciate, recent purchasers of the earlier and now
outdated version (the TM31 model), were not impressed by the secret
These unhappy customers took to social media and other means to
complain about the launch and Thermomix's failure to warn them
that about the launch of the new model. The customers flooded the
company's Facebook page with complaints and even set up a
'Thermomix Unhappy Customers' Facebook page. Accordingly to
Georgina Shelley the page was created for "sharing
information and banding together, because they're not listening
to us as individuals."
This Facebook page was not only a forum for customers to vent
their concerns and frustrations. It also encouraged people to sign
a petition, to register their complaint with the Consumer
Affairs/Office of Fair Trading and to share media coverage on this
dispute. As at 15 September, this Facebook page had 2880 likes.
The unhappy customers were not the only ones talking about the
launch. Tom Godfrey from Choice issued a statement on the launch
which included the following:
"While it doesn't appear the company has broken the
law, they ground down the trust with their own loyal fan base. When
weighing up the knead (sic) to accurately inform the public we
don't believe they got the mix right this time."
This case clearly highlights the power of social media.
Thermomix listened to their unhappy customers and on 11 September
2014 Thermomix issued the following statement. Thermomix were
"deeply sorry that this has resulted in some of our very
valuable customers feeling disappointed. .... We are currently
working with our team to address the concerns of those customers
that recently purchased a TM31...".
Thermomix have now offered customers who purchased their TM31 on
or after 1st July and prior to 20th August a free bowl, blade and
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The issue of recording telephone calls was recently considered in the Federal Court in Furnari v Ziegert  FCA 1080.
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