Last week, a relatively unknown young man posted a clever and amusing animated video to YouTube, poking fun at the sometimes blind following garnered by the iPhone. The video (not safe for work due to language) features two cute, furry animals talking in electronically-generated speech, standing in a nondescript outdoor environment referred to as Phone Mart. The video does not openly disparage either of the products it mentions: the iPhone 4 and the HTC EVO. The video does not in any capacity mention or suggest Best Buy. Neither this video nor the other videos posted by the creator suggest any personal or professional association with Best Buy.
Fast forward a week, and Best Buy has learned that the video’s creator has worked in its mobile sales group for years. Despite the facts that this video has nothing to do with Best Buy, doesn’t suggest Best Buy in any way, doesn’t identify the creator as being associated with Best Buy, and is so clearly satire that it can’t be interpreted as disparaging either mentioned product, Best Buy suspended the employee indefinitely and is purportedly now trying to fire the employee.
Throw in a holiday weekend with lots of tech news and a grand total of over 3 million views on YouTube, and the public is now baffled by Best Buy’s move. As am I. I’m an iPhone owner and an Apple investor. I bought an iPhone 4 on the first day it was available. This video is mocking people like me, and I found the video to be very funny and accurate about iPhone buyers’ brand loyalty. That’s the point. That’s what’s being mocked here—not the products themselves.
Best Buy would have likely never been associated with this video in any way if its management team had respected some boundaries and done nothing. I’m still trying to figure out why they’d even be inclined to investigate if this innocuous video had any Best Buy affiliation.
I can only draw one conclusion: Best Buy is run by idiots. I’ve been a Best Buy stockholder for years, but today I sold my shares at a net loss, because I don’t think it’s good business to invest in a company that’s run by idiots. Then I let Best Buy know that and why I sold my shares today. I’ll also be watching the news to find out where the video’s creator ends up. I’ll buy stock in the company that hires him.