Telus’ Freudian Slip

by Jordan Richardson on July 29, 2010

Telus has long attempted to tell us that the “future is friendly.” The cute animals in the commercials point to a grander way of life, to something simple in which the consumer is treated as one of the Grand Kingdom. The company has gone out of its way to promote the idea that they really do sincerely care.

That’s why slip-ups like Wednesday’s are so illuminating.

At some time on Wednesday, for a few brief moments, the telecom giant referred to its customers as “dead beats” and “broke.”

The “errant text,” as Telus called it later, was shared over Twitter and various websites. Apparently the text was found under the “Why do I need a credit check?” portion of Telus’ website. The answer to the query was “You make be broke, therefore highly unlikely to pay your bill.” As if that wasn’t enough, the next line read “We just don’t want to lose money, you dead beat. You know how it is…”

Sure do.

It’s a mystery as to how the text arrived on the Telus website. The company had no explanation either, but they did trot out a quick apology.

“As soon as this came to our attention we immediately removed it,” Telus spokesman Jim Johannsson said in an email to Postmedia News. “The errant text does not represent Telus’ policy or our view and we apologize for the error.”

So was the website hacked? Were a few Telus programmers feeling especially playful? Was it actually a Freudian slip? The truth is that we’ll probably never know, but it sure does make for an interesting tidbit as relates to marketing in today’s tech environs.

The parapraxis was taken down almost immediately after it spread to the Great Wide Open of the internet, so Telus was quick on the draw to remove it. Some have speculated that the text was some sort of placeholder in the site’s programming that squeaked through to the main page in a moment of clerical error. That’s possible. If that’s true, is this insightful as to what Telus really thinks of its customers?

If we suddenly start seeing the little rabbits and ducks on the commercials flipping the bird and cursing at Telus customers, we’ll know that this was no accident. Until then, it just makes for a good chuckle.

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