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Odeon Facebook Rant Goes Viral

Posted on the 31 August 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
Odeon cinema Odeon cinema. Photocredit: Elliott Brown

The background

Cinemagoer Mark Pledger posted a rant on Facebook about his experience at Odeon. The comments have gone viral, with over 160,000 “likes,” and 14,000 comments and counting. Commentators are saying that it’s about time big brands realised the power of social media. If you’d like to join in the fun, let us know below with your own cinema going horrors.

What Pledger said

He complained about the cost – £21 for two tickets and a 7-Up. Staff were inattentive; sound came in from another screen, and he was subjected to an advert about piracy. He said: “If you want to see more people in your cinemas and actually put a dent in film piracy you should really try and cut your prices, hire decent staff and forget the 600% profit margins on your food and drink. You are putting plenty of nails into the cinema coffin Odeon. I won’t be back in a hurry.”

Something’s wrong, but we need cinemas

This, as well as being a “lesson in how social media can reduce even the biggest companies into wishing that Tim Berners-Lee had taken up painting or something,” is also part of a “wider problem,” said Stephen Kelly in The Guardian. The cinema industry is “in flux.” Pledger’s experience is a personal one, but it does point up the expense of going to see a film. Cinemas lease films from distributors, who take 90 per cent of ticket sales – they need money from snacks and popcorn to stay in business. But something’s wrong – is it that we can watch films at home? Is it that Hollywood has no ideas? We need cinemas – they’re beautiful, “an immersive medium that manages to be both personal and social.”

A national issue!

The Prime Time blog was not happy with Odeon – the company hasn’t released a blog addressing the complaints; the blog also seemed to want to know how Odeon could make his (or her) own experience better. The blog did not like the way that Odeon said it “responded to every post that warranted a customer service response.” This isn’t enough for the Prime Time blog. It is, apparently, a “national issue.” Odeon must focus on “its messaging to communicate some, clearly needed, changes.”

Social media need to be monitored constantly

Sean Walsh on The Wall said that it was about time brands such as Odeon realised that social media need to be monitored constantly. 18 million UK consumers “used social media as a customer service channel, and 65 per cent preferred it to the traditional call center.” Sure, it’s unfortunate that the complaint came over the Bank Holiday, but it “doesn’t really stick as an excuse.” There need to be crisis management plans, and brands “need to ensure they are being clearly seen” to be dealing with complaints.

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