Weed, A.J. (2014). We’re Trekkers, too: How customer service failure became an internet meme. Journal of Critical Incidents, 7.

Abstract:  In September of 2011, Stewart, a television and film actor best known for his role as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, wrote on his Twitter feed, “All I wanted to do was set up a new account with @TWCable_NYC but 36hrs later I’ve lost the will to live.”  @TWCable_NYC is the Twitter handle for Time Warner Cable, Inc’s (TWC) New York City office.  What ensued after the tweet was more than 1,800 retweets made by followers of @SirPatStew, including other Star Trek cast members William Shatner and LeVar Burton, telling of their similar bad experiences with TWC.   Jeff Simmerson, director of digital communication for TWC, must decide if his company’s social customer service policy is flawed and whether there was a way the social customer service rep could have responded differently that would have lead to a positive resolution with Stewart.

Weed, A. J., & Davis, C. (2013). American Apparel and the “XLent” Contest. Business Case Journal, 20(1), 1.

Abstract: In 2011, American Apparel conducted an online contest titled “The Next Big Thing.”  An open call was made for women who needed a “little extra wiggle room” to become the company’s next “XLent” model.  The top contestant would become models for the new XL line of clothing.  Nancy Upton, a college student from Texas, posted a satirical entry into the content. Upton counter-framed the typical American Apparel advertisement to include images of her eating a rotisserie chicken in a swimming pool and dousing herself with chocolate syrup while wearing only her underwear.  She won the contest by popular vote, but American Apparel rejected her entry in an open letter to Upton and the media.  The company charged that Upton did not “truly exemplify the idea of beauty inside and out.”  Upton posted the open letter on her blog, which chronicled her experience with the XL modeling contest.  Within 24 hours, 30 news organizations and online magazines reported the open letter, which was re-tweeted more than 1,600 times.  The story reached national news status with reports broadcasted by ABC, CBS, CNN, and the Today Show.

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