It’s the potty story that wouldn’t die. First they claimed it was a hoax and now Microsoft is saying it wasn’t a hoax, but the project has been axed. Tomorrow they’ll probably announce that the project is still alive and they’ll be announcing a planned “Potty Plus Pack” shortly after the first iLoos hit the market.
SEATTLE—What’s true with the iLoo? Microsoft and its public relations firm changed their story—again—Tuesday about whether the U.K. division had been developing an Internet-enabled portable toilet.
On Monday, three representatives for the software giant told news agencies, including The Associated Press, that an April 30 news release trumpeting the “iLoo” was a hoax and apologized for “any confusion or offense.”
But on Tuesday, the company reversed itself, saying the iLoo was real but now has been killed.
“We jumped the gun basically yesterday in confirming that it was a hoax, and in fact it was not,” said Lisa Gurry, MSN group product manager. “Definitely, we’re going to be taking a good look at our communication processes internally.”
It’s a public relations embarrassment for a company famous for micromanaging news releases, interviews and promotional events.
“It’s definitely not how we like to do PR at Microsoft,” Gurry said.
The U.K. division likes to run clever and innovative marketing campaigns, Gurry said, and had thought an iLoo would appeal to the British. MSN typically allows its units to tailor their own campaigns to their regions, she said.
But MSN’s executive team, which had heard of the iLoo through news reports, took the unusual step of killing the project on Monday, she said, believing that the portable toilet “wasn’t the best extension of our brand.”
As we here at SEB are serious about maintaining a high level of accuracy in the news reports we pass along (yeah, right) we are now officially retracting our previous retraction about the iLoo story. At least until events warrant a retraction of our retraction of the previous retraction. Thank you.