“I guess live shows aren’t my thing”: Michael Bay walks off at CES Samsung presentation

Hollywood hot shot director Michael Bay has bungled an appearance at global electronics tradeshow CES, walking off stage during a presentation for Samsung.

The famous director, known for making high-budget action flicks like Transformers and The Island, was on stage to talk about Samsung’s upcoming line of curved Ultra HD TVs, but failed to finish his presentation when the teleprompter failed.

The incident left Bay embarrassed, causing some online commenters to say he needed to be better prepared, while others pledged their support for the director.

Bay acknowledged the teleprompters failing live onstage and told the audience and presenter he would try to “wing it”, but “winging it” didn’t go so well for Bay. After a couple of seconds, he said “I’m sorry” and swiftly exited the stage.

The founder of blogger talent agency The Remarkables Group, Lorraine Murphy, told SmartCompany it’s not fundamental for a brand ambassador to be a good public speaker, but it does help to have a good knowledge of the product.

“I would assume that Samsung had given him a full product briefing in the run-up to CES.  It would have made his life easier to have two to three key product features rehearsed and even jotted on his hand so he could easily refer to them,” she says.

“He (Bay) is clearly not a natural public speaker, and that experience would have been pure torture for him.”

After the incident Bay took to his blog to explain his reaction.

“Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES – I was about to speak for Samsung for this awesome Curved 105-inch UHD TV. I rarely lend my name to any products, but this one is just stellar. I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost,” he says.

“Then the prompter went up and down – then I walked off. I guess live shows aren’t my thing.”

Bay then says he’ll be doing a curved screen experience in conjunction with Samsung with Transformers 4 footage.

Getting nervous on stage is an issue faced by many people, and for this reason, Bay has earned some new fans.

Blog reader Jon commented saying “hey these things happen Michael – looks like a cool tv (sic) and you have actually created more publicity for Samsung and so in my book it has all turned out just fine.”

With a big name personality such as Michael Bay, perhaps it is “just fine” for Samsung, but generally when choosing a brand ambassador the company should determine the person’s skill set first.

“Ascertain early on what the ambassador’s strengths are – and cater to their weaknesses. For example, Michael Bay would probably be completely at home on set so perhaps a pre-recorded clip could have been shown with a simple welcome from him – and then the Samsung rep could continue on with a product briefing,” Murphy says.

“Providing them with a full brand immersion where they can learn from the brand’s experts on what sets the product or service apart. If they’re not 100% across these points, then it’ll be impossible to convince others why it’s the better brand.”

Murphy says when choosing a brand ambassador, businesses need to consider who is a “natural fit” for their product.

“In this case, Samsung got it bang-on. Hollywood director meets fancy TV – perfect. If the fit doesn’t feel natural from the outset, it won’t get any easier,” she says.

“Involving the ambassador with the strategy means they feel ownership of it and are more likely to go over and above. And lastly, define parameters from the outset. When our bloggers work with brands in highly-regulated industries (e.g. alcohol, finance and pharmaceuticals), we need to observe the requirements of the relevant regulatory bodies in those industries.”


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