Company Responds to Marina Shifrin’s “I Quit” Video

You’ve likely seen the video going around the web today featuring Marina Shifrin in her office at 4:30 am dancing her way to a resignation as a digital media producer at Next Media Animation. While joyfully shaking it to Kayne West’s, “Gone” she gives her reasons for quitting in scrolling words at the bottom of the video, (her boss made her work a lot and stifled creativity).  (story continues below)

The video has already seen 9 million views to-date and has been hailed by sites like Mashable as “epic” and “something that will serve her well in the next job she lands.”

Considering  her career is a creative one and that we live in a web celeb age, I don’t doubt that Mashable is correct. After all, as a writer/comedian/video producer, she has done a great job of entertaining people and making herself known. (Although I wouldn’t recommend this tactic for anyone who can’t include “writer and comedian” in their job title.)

mediaWhile the news media ponders whether or not this is a good way to quit your job, Next Media Animation has hit back, proving that a little humor and strategic positioning can transform a negative story into a positive one.

In a response video that has seen a million views at the time of this publishing, the company shows its executives and employees dancing in the same fashion, while touting  benefits like a rooftop pool and sauna and a fun work environment in animation.

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Now, “the boss” as he is defined in the video, is featured a little too prominently for my taste.

I understand his impulse to personally defend the company, but his being so present seems perfunctory at best and unseemly at worst.

My advice would have been to let other employees sing – or rather, dance – the studio’s praises instead. That would have created the “third party credibility” factor you don’t get when the boss is standing right there. YouTube, commenters, in particular, have referenced his omnipresence in the video.

For example, instead of having “the boss” pretend to swim in the rooftop pool, I would have shown the employees jumping into it.

But, frankly, they had to respond in some way. The brand was being publicly maligned in the video and everyone from The Today Show to the Wall Street Journal was currently running it.

They got their video out by sending it to Gawker with a letter explaining their side. This was far smarter than giving a simple, traditional interview, which would not have seen nearly the views this tactic has generated.

Like the video, the letter to Gawker is a bit too ungenerous – a word of advice, when you have to keep prefacing what you are about to say with, “I’m not trying to slam her but…” you probably shouldn’t say what you are about to say. A simple matter of thoughtful word choice through the PR lens could have made the difference.  But, the author of the letter, Mark Simon, concedes the company has no PR department and so I applaud their attempt at taking the high road.

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They haven’t leveraged social media much to further share their story.

There was no mention on their Facebook page and only one minor reference to it on Twitter, where, unfortunately, they responded too harshly to one Twitterer’s criticism.

But, they did seize the opportunity to invite another, more supportive Twitterer to send a resume.

While it wasn’t perfect, the video did get their side out.

And overall, it’s quite effective  because after wishing Marina well, they reminded everyone they are now hiring and told people how to reach them. That is what I call changing the story.

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