back to article Huawei or the highway: Chinese giant whacks marketing drones for tweeting from iPhone

Huawei has slapped two employees on the wrist for making promotional tweets using a rival Apple's iPhone. Citing an internal memo, Reuters said that digital marketing agency Sapient had "VPN problems" sending the tweet by desktop – because of China's great firewall. An iPhone with a roaming SIM was used instead. Huawei may …

  1. DJV Silver badge



    Sent from the Inquirer

  2. DavCrav Silver badge

    Fining employees and demoting them for an incredibly minor mistake seems maybe a little bit over the top. I can't help but think that that should be the main headline: Huawei fucks over two employees over nothing important.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Well maybe whatever the platform, they should have been sacked for using Twitter?

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      I'd take the whole thing with a pinch of salt. Twitter means nothing in China, or anywhere else for that matter. Want to impress the millenials? Then get on Instagram.

      I can imagine the real value is Huawei being seen to clamp down on a dozy agency. Though he'd be using Sapient anyway?

      1. David Webb

        It means nothing in China because it's generally blocked in China, something to do with the Chinese government not liking people posting lots of photos of cats and memes or something like that. Conversly, the Chinese social media platforms are not platforms outside of China so for Chinese brands in China to promote content outside of China they need to use Twitter/Insta/MySpace.

    3. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Alternatively : Huawei punishes 2 of their marketing team for gross misconduct at their job.

      This isn't 2 random employees - these are people whose job is in marketing, who have been entrusted with the Official Twitter account credentials and who are probably paid a reasonable salary to act as marketing professionals which they clearly did not in this case.

      Personally I would have given them an off the books or verbal warning, but given the that damage to the brand could be argued to be significant (ie Millions of dollars of brand value being impacted by making it a laughing stock) I don't believe firing them would have been totally unreasonable.

      It comes under the heading of "you had one job".....

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Alternatively Alternatively: Huawaei outsources twitter marketing to an agency that uses iPhones as their company phone.

        There's too much we don't know about here to make informed decisions about what is and isn't reasonable. (That being said, demotion seems strong for this)

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Yeah but Huawei could hardly demote an employee of an outside agency, now could it ?

          I think this fall smore under the complete lack of engagement on both sides of the coin. Marketing blokes couldn't be arsed to find out if their representative of choice actually uses the brand, and the so-called "brand spokespeople" couldn't be arsed to actually change phones for the duration of the contract for which they accepted a tidy sum.

        2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

          If it's a marketing agency then they should know the business and therefore know how shit it looks to be advertising a brand from a rival brand's device.

          That would, in any industry, lead to instant dismissal of the marketing firm and suing for damages.

          Can you imagine Mercedes using a marketing agency who rocks up to an event in a Range Rover?

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        but given the that damage to the brand could be argued to be significant (ie Millions of dollars of brand value being impacted by making it a laughing stock)

        As if: all agencies use Apple stuff. This is just a clumsy gaff that will be forgotten in a week, especially because it was on "social media" which made it easy for journos to find.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        It's also the second time, before Huawei was caught advertising its P9 photo capabilities using images taken with a Canon 5D3 DSLR (and an expensive 70-200/2.8 stabilized lens, the lens alone weights 1.5kg as it contains 23 elements...).

        In turn, Canon marketing posted a photo which was a composite made (illegally) with an image taken with a Fuji and made available on Unsplash with fake EXIF data.... as they were too lazy to look on better sites and maybe pay usage rights, but they were quickly caught because there are really too many eyes on the Internet.

        So yes, it you're paid, often well and maybe better than people doing an harder job, you could at last spend a little time to do it well. I'm sure Huawei gave them some of their latest models for free, maybe you can avoid to give them away or resell them, and use them to post your marketing messages.

        And I'm not surprise if a company take action against employee who are sloppy and can damage the whole company. Maybe Huawei is not, but if you're a marketing company and do such mistakes, you can easily lose customers, and large ones like Huawei are not easy to find.

    4. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "Fining employees and demoting them for an incredibly minor mistake seems maybe a little bit over the top."

      I can see you've never worked for a US corporation.

      Not that long ago, two GM employees taking a non-GM hire car to a function could expect much, much worse.

      As in a DCM ("don't come Monday")

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your job is to use your company phone to promote the company.

      You, Nah, screw that, I'll use my personal phone thanks.

      How is the company in the wrong here? It's paying them to do something in a certain way.

      Seen similar where hardware companies get pissy about people using a rivals hardware...not a good advert

  3. Rainer


    They believe in fear as a motivator.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Easy

      Fear is a great motivator.

      Come over here and let me show you how my BOFH-modified cattle prod works. You'll understand in a flash.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy

      >They believe in fear as a motivator.

      Hmm, you really think Apple wouldn't do likewise if their marketeers were using Droid...

      They believe ownership is a motivator. Huawei is that weird mix of capitalist and communist (workers own the means of production) - 70% of Chinese employees own stock (non-Chinese cannot own stock). A horrifying concept for free market capitalist types.

      1. Rainer

        Re: Easy

        Apple doesn't really have "brand-ambassadors" like other companies.

        And I'd say Apple as a business-partner is important enough that you really make sure you don't mix-up like that. Huawei clearly wasn't ;-)

        I guess if Apple's GSM chips (well, Intel's) get better in a few iterations, one can cross-off one more excuse for not using an iPhone for such a function....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet Apple stock still dipped, tragic just tragic.

  5. steelpillow Silver badge

    Wrecked again

    "Wrecked again, I'm out on the highway,

    "Wrecked again, I'm trying to find Huawei

    "To you."

    — With apologies to Michael Chapman.

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I suspect Apple pay a nice wad of cash to Twitter and other app makers to have it notify that the Tweet, photo email etc comes from an iPhone. As after all with the amounts of tweets sent in a day that would be a lot of mentions of iPhone in a 24 hour period, so some nice subliminal advertising.

    I have never seen anyone tweet that they are doing it from an Motorola, HTC, Sony etc, so the rivals need to catch up if they want to get their brand out there.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "so the rivals need to catch up if they want to get their brand out there."

      You don't get this protectionism thing, do you?

  7. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Rough Deal - Perhaps

    The GFWoC is locked down tighter than a virgins arsehole right now, and it is near impossible to set up a VPN from within the country; so when whatever channel they were using to access Twitter was shut down, the iPhone may have been the only other vpn channel still working.

    When I say locked down, I mean it, since Christmas day even the /en pages of Chinese companies are blocked, CCTV /en included. And it isnt just social media/news websites either, LOTRO is blocked, both the game and the forums.

    90% of the bookmarks on my laptop were either totally blocked, or after 10 minutes, a text only version would finally load. Up until the 25th, I had various ways of reaching most of those - although still not BBC, Google or Twitter.

    GMail WOULD have worked, if Google hadnt blocked ALL my accounts for not being at home; does their AI not remember I make regular trips out here??

    (In China from 9th to the 31st December)

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