“Goode” Opportunity for PR is Lost on Winery

Goode Job 1

Someone at the Murphy-Goode Winery had an amazing PR idea. The execution of that idea (whether poor planning or someone’s crass indifference toward their customer base), has quickly become a nightmare.

At best, Murphy-Goode has shown that it is a company with no concept of the breadth and strength of current social media. At worst, it has shown the world that it is a company completely devoid of basic ethics.

It began with the advertisements

…for an outgoing, web-savvy, articulate communicator to tell the story of the great mountain vines and artisan winemakers of California, tasting the “goode” stuff and experiencing the spectacular Sonoma wine country. The search has been covered by CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS and in hundreds of major daily papers and newscasts from London to India, thousands of blog and Twitter sites, and has drawn crowds when winemaker Dave Ready, Jr. visits select cities.” Murphy-Goode media release

Martin Sargent was one of  hundreds of applicants.  So what makes Sargent special?  Is it his application video?  His website? His vast social media (and other media!) experience?

“Martin Sargent began his television career with ZDTV in 1998. Since then he’s hosted, written and developed shows for such networks as TechTV, G4, USA Network, and Comedy Central. Most recently, he hosted Internet Superstar and Web Drifter for Revision3. Martin graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in English from Cornell University.” www.martinsargent.com

On June 17th, after being posted for less than 24 hours, his video had 2,000 votes – far more than any other.  By the application deadline, June 19th, it was well over 4,000 votes – more than double the votes of any other video on the site. By the end, the number was over 6,000.

When Murphy-Goode pared down the candidates to the “top” 50, Martin Sargent’s name was not on the list.  In his twitter feed, he graciously thanked his fans and congratulated those who would be continuing in the competition:

“Thank you all for your tremendous support!  But I am not included in the top 50 candidates for @areallygoodjob. Congrats to those who were.”

Martin’s graciousness did not spill over to his thousands of disappointed fans.

They feel cheated.  They feel betrayed. And they feel ready to pour their anger into their blogs while pouring “badde” wine down the drain:

comment_editFirst, came the Digg post by nace33

“Murphy-Goode says #1 spot isn’t good enough to make top 50”

“Murphy-Goode announced their top 50 for their really good job contest. The only problem is that @martinsargent wasn’t in it. So, for all those that voted, looks like your votes meant nothing to Murphy-Goode. Forget me, forget you Murphy-Goode!”

The last time I checked, nace33’s  post had over 300 comments and had been “dugg” more than 2000 times.

comment_editThen, Kevin Rose Tweeted the story:

“Wow, Murphy-Goode Winery (@areallygoodjob) just screwed @martinsargent (even though he won most votes)”

Of course, this is just one little tweet.  No biggie.  Kevin Rose only has 916,309 followers. Er, make that 916, 326. 329. 334.  Well, crap. I can’t type fast enough to keep up with those numbers.  Maybe none of them drink wine.  Maybe they all missed his post.

If anyone on the planet had missed the story, surely they didn’t miss Leo’s thoughts:


The most pointed post is Leo Laporte’s:

“You’re on my list, Murphy-Goode (and it ain’t a shopping list).”

When and how do they start trying to dig out from under this mess?  The only thing found so far (and I have Looked!) is a Sunday morning Facebook note.  It got comments from nearly a dozen people.

Angry mobs wielding pitchforks and torches just can’t be ignored, but you might have more luck with them than with angry geeks wielding social media.

We will be watching to see how this plays out.


13 comments to “Goode” Opportunity for PR is Lost on Winery

  • Understander

    I guess I just see it all as a simple mistake made by a company trying to make way in a space they never have before. Here’s their response to it all – seems pretty straight forward to me:


  • Nice post. I totally agree they screwed themselves badly with this one. They started out as a basic unknown (at least, to the majority of the country), quickly became “marketing geniuses” in the eyes of many, and then shot themselves in the foot when they passed up Martin. Yeah, he’s done some dumb things in his career, but I think most of us have. Still, he’s loved–or at least appreciated–by millions, and considering he’s been out of real work for a while, we were all really hoping he’d at least have a good shot at getting this job. The backlash against M-G is proof enough that he has pull in the social media world, and M-G basically just kissed thousands–if not hundreds of thousands–of potential customers goodbye.

  • Its seems very strange that one of the first acts of this company seeking to establish a social media voice, is to ignore those who sought to interact with it. The power of social media is its democratic qualities, allowing our voices to be heard and counted. Murphy Goode by ignoring people who went out of their way to digg, facebook, twitter and vote in their contest, has made it clear, its a one way conversation, an old media mindset dressed in new media clothing.

    And their facebook post is BS pure and simple. It seems as though they were talking down to those who felt like they were lied to….

    I am tired of half truths and BS…MG admit you made a mistake and apologize…

  • Suzanne Llywellyn

    More power to Martin Sargent — seems like a great guy — but all of his “fans: are definitely a bunch of losers. Hasn’t it sunk in that Sargent just didn’t make the “cut?” You’re man lost out… get over it, move on. The absolute fact of the matter is that there are hundreds, probably thousands, of social media savvy wine lovers out there in the country who undoubtedly fit into Murphy-Goode’s criteria much better. Besides, I saw Sargent’s video application, which was disappointing (portraying wine appreciation as an exercise in getting sloshed)… he could have done much better, I’m sure, but he dug his own grave with that one.

    Murphy-Goode made no mistake, losers… they have the right to pick what’s best for them, and if you can’t see that, you’re just a bunch of idiots…

    • Clearly, you have missed the point. This is not about Martin Sargent. (It is also not about childish name-calling.)

      Muphy-Goode has deleted every reference to voting. Since the instructions and information on those pages is no longer accessible, it is very difficult for new site visitors to comprehend the deception felt by those who voted – regardless of whose video their vote supported.

  • blackfeathers

    sometimes it feels like wine snobs don’t belong on social media sites like twitter because they are in fact snobs. a recent tweet found regarding murphy-goode:

    @toddhavens True dat! RT @RickBakas: Higher quality tweetage around #areallygoodejob now that voting has gone away. Goode move by #murphy-goode

    there could be more if you search that hashtag.

  • Suzanne Llywellyn

    Jennifer, I noticed that you didn’t “approve” of my post from yesterday… what’s the matter, afraid of disagreement? You have people talking smack about Murphy-Goode, and here I am talking “goode,” and your quashing it… I think you might have a prob, too, just like those fools who voted for Martin without even reading the not-even-fine print about how the selection was going down…

    • I am sorry that my blog schedule does meet your requirements (revolve around you).

      As always, debate is a welcomed form of interaction. Name-calling is not. If you need conflict in your life, this is not the place for it.

      As for the “fools” you describe: They read EXACTLY the instructions that were pertinent to their level of involvement. (I would supply a link, but Murphy-Goode has deleted those pages and all reference to them.)

  • Suzanne Llywellyn

    Jenn, my friends and I viewed hundreds of those Murphy-Goode videos online, and we even voted for our “favorites.” However, absolutely none of us thought for a second that votes would determine the winners. We read the ground rules just like everyone else. The only people who are complaining are Sargent fans… so what does that tell you? That Sargent fans don’t read like the rest of us?

    I mean, gee whiz… don’t you guys get it? From what I understand there were three other top 10 vote getters that didn’t get into the final 50 (including the 2nd place vote-getter), but the other seven of them did… this shows that Murphy-Goode paid attention to the voting, but that they still needed to make their selection based upon their own criteria, and Sargent didn’t fit, plain and simple!

  • Suzanne…you freely throw around the words “loser” and “fool” to describe people who do not like companies that lie to them with marketing schemes. I do not get why you think we do not have a right to be angry. You obviously are a shill for MG, its sad that your company’s marketing plan includes two parts 1. lies 2. mean spirited attacks on those who question them.

  • Yes, that is true, I agree with you, but I am not sure if there are no other options.

    • Intention never matters in cases like this peorcptien of intention does. At least to the public at large. I would wager most of the folks angry over this would agree with the Bad Faith scenario, even though the intent of M-G may never have been that. They’re going to need to work on changing that peorcptien if they want to smooth things over with that crowd. How? Your guess is as good as mine As for collecting e-mails to vote, we’ll have to agree to disagree In my experience, the more careful and serious you make the vote process the more weight people will assume it has in the end. I don’t see CNN or ESPN asking for e-mail addresses for their throwaway polls, which if you think about it are just popularity votes for a small pool of candidates . Those are when folks are just cheering from the sidelines As for Leo, I’m not sure how impactful he really was here at the beginning. Martin got 6K votes, which was 4x the next person. But, when you consider Leo’s number of followers, it’s not that much. I’d say Martin’s own followers were the voters here. I do agree that Leo (and Kevin Rose) added some gas to the fire once they alerted their followers to what had happened with the top 50, though

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