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Mouths Wide Shut

There's a particularly egregious example of the dangers of announcing new releases prematurely: When Amtrak announced its new high-speed rail service betwen Boston and Washington DC, they renamed all Northeast Corridor services to the "Acela" brand name, with the conventional trains named "Acela Regional" and the high-speed trains named 'Acela Express".  Problem was, they didn't bother mentioning this distinction in their multi-million-dollar ad campaign, and, due to technical problems with the new trainsets, the Acela Express trains didn't start running for a *full* *year* after the ad campaign ran. This meant that people bought tickets expecting to ride the new fast train, and instead got the old slow train with new paint and upholstery. The result was an enormous PR black eye for Amtrak.

Chip Olson
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

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