Why You Shouldn’t Copy the “I Quit” Video

Erik Bernstein crisis communications, crisis management, crisis public relations, Crisis Response, Erik Bernstein, internet crisis management, internet reputation management, Jonathan Bernstein, online crisis management, online reputation management, PR, public relations, reputation management, social media, YouTube Leave a Comment

Immortalized online…but is it a good thing?

The latest YouTube video to go viral features a young woman quitting her job in what most certainly is a creative manner, but was it a smart move? Let’s watch:

Marina Shifrin is the woman in the video, and it was filmed at the offices of (and using equipment belonging to) her former employer, Next Media Animation. The tunes were catchy, and the video obviously struck a chord with the public, many of whom have probably imagined doing the very same thing Shifrin did. In fact, the video is now sitting at nearly 5.5 million views, making it a major success by YouTube standards.

What about Next Media Animation? Obviously some type of crisis management was in order, and Next Media Animation commercial director/company spokesman Mark Simon went right for the same audience that helped Shifrin’s video go viral when he sent an email to Gawker sharing NMA’s side of the story. It’s a little lengthy for this blog, but Mark did a great job of both explaining his side of the story while avoiding further fanning the flames of controversy, no easy task, so we’re sharing his response in full:

I am Mark Simon, I am the one who hired Marina Shifrin, who danced her way to fame in her resignation video which she sent to Gawker.

Currently, I am one of the senior executives of the group and she reports up to the folks who work for me. Marina actually thinks enough of me to have given me a call the Thursday before she released this to say that she was resigning, which I appreciated. I asked her to tell her bosses, as I took our call to be in confidence. The first her boss saw was the video.

Look, I actually like Marina a great deal. Marina herself has said we are a great company to work for, and I do not think she intended to hurt anyone, but it has happened.

There are a few things I would like just make a point of and if there is an interest I will be happy to be asked any question. (We do not have a PR department and we are wide open to any and all questions).

There is an image now of a sweat shop, we are not. Marina made USD$42k per year. She had a 40 hr work week, 5 days a week. There is no expectation of OT on our behalf, you finish your shift and leave. In our office most folks leave when their shift is up as you work on news flow.

Also we ask journalists to work one month per year on the midnight shift as we just need to cover the shift. We pay a differential of 30% for these hours, which I know are hard hours to work.

Look, we do news animations. We are not investigative reporters. Two international outlets have asked us for comment, and her video is up on nearly 300 sites. We think we have something to say about this and we are hoping Gawker will have us.

I am not looking to slam her, nor am I engaged in anything but trying to help some other managers in their early 30’s, understand why the young lady they hung out with just cashiered them. I don’t think she meant for it to be seen as so harsh, but we are getting some nasty attacks on our managers, who she says she respects.

I just want any chance to answer any questions, answer anything on Skype or on phone.

I am not spitting nastiness at Marina, but in her 9 months with us we sent her to Hong Kong twice, to Thailand for a media conference, and she just came back a month ago from two weeks in LA and NYC where she was pitching animation stories. She logged 170 hours the last 3 months in creative time working up ideas to pitch. She is a hard worker, but I cannot foresee results or always give her the best story of the day.

We let her talk to all the press she wanted, we encouraged her stand-up, and frankly my folks in Taiwan are a bunch of granola’s… They are nice folks. We have 600 employees and I have not one outstanding case in labor tribunal. That is no small feat in Taiwan.

I though Gawker played this fair and so if anyone wants anything we are open.



Not only did Mark succeed in making clear just how childish Shifrin’s behavior was (not giving proper notice of resignation and fibbing about how long she’s been with NMA, to name a couple), but he also paints his company as a pretty nice place to work. There are legions of young, bright and talented folk who would jump at the chance to take a job that starts at a decent wage, sends you around the world and doesn’t gripe when you spend a hefty chunk of your paid time surfing the ‘net, er, wait, “working up ideas to pitch.”

Even better, NMA continued to show off its lighter side and promote itself as a solid employer with a response posted to its own YouTube channel, the first place many are likely heading after watching Shifrin’s video:

In five years Shifrin may be a completely different person, but given how many places its been embedded and how many news outlets have covered the story, her immature and unprofessional antics will live on forever via the web.

Bottom line – publicizing the fact that you have a weak work ethic and make poor moral choices just isn’t a good idea, unless maybe you’re angling for a spot in Congress.

The BCM Blogging Team

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